Ever bigger bubbles appear as lobster pot comes to the boil Every dog has its day, and so do embattled Chinese restaurants. This week, investors have been cooking up locally listed restaurant stocks, apparently in expectation they are about to bring in new shareholders. Yesterday, shares in lobster restaurant chain Hon Po Group all but boiled over, rising 171 per cent before they were suspended in afternoon trade pending release of price-sensitive information. (Note to the food tasters at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing and the Securities and Futures Commission: it would look like somebody in the market already knew what was cooking at Hon Po in advance.) One rumour has it that struggling Hon Po, founded by executive director Cheung To-sang, will be taken over, as was dim sum restaurant and cake shop operator Kamboat Group. Kamboat's shares soared 46 per cent yesterday - and almost five times over the past week - after it was announced that former Citic 21CN chairman David Vong Tat-leong will assume control through a massive share placement. Predictably, self-appointed market watchdog David Webb tasted something funny and issued his first 'bubble warning' on Kamboat yesterday. The party-pooper dared to ask why investors have driven Kamboat's market cap 81 times higher than its humble $140 million in net tangible assets. Tack Hsin, another restaurant outlet, was up almost 14 per cent yesterday, although that is a modest gratuity by comparison with Hon Po's and Kamboat's run-ups. To steal a phrase from Mr Webb, there is nothing like a good old-fashioned stir-fry. wi-fi debate runs full spectrum They usually do battle over weighty constitutional matters but Liberals and Democrats have shifted their struggle to the unlikely battlefield of telecommunications policy. For the first time, the Liberal Party has submitted views to the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, entering the great Wi-Fi debate. The party of business and the battling middle class has pitched its support for wireless broadband services but instead wants a beauty parade (read giveaway to the best connected players) approach rather than spectrum auctioning. Similarly unhappy was Democrat legislator Sin Chung-kai, who senses a fit-up with the proposal to limit access to fixed-line carriers and a choice of spectrum which he reckons will violate the regulator's principle of 'technology neutrality'. With Hutchison Whampoa, the 3G pioneer, submitting a wholly different opinion to dominant fixed-line carrier PCCW over the issue, the question of how to carve up the air waves looks to have the makings of a right political spat. how suite it is What brings pilots, stewardesses and Tin Shui Wai residents together to the remote Li Ka-shing-owned Harbour Plaza Resort City? It would seem the latest in bull market promotions, if a 30-minute auction for the right to lease hotel suites is any indication. More than 50 would-be residents reportedly showed up for the trail-blazing event, bidding for the right to stay in three different-sized rooms. Australian pilot Arthur Martinez walked away a winner, bidding $20,000 a month for a one-year leasing contract on the 985-square-foot suites - representing an 8 per cent premium to existing prices. Two other rooms were also sold at a premium, indicating that Northwest New Territories might be back. It is almost enough to rekindle your belief in the power of an open auction as the best way to sell a scarce resource and maximise everyone's welfare. What think you, Hutchison Telecom? Li & Fung chief goes the distance Everyone knows Li & Fung group managing director William Fung Kwok-lun is a successful businessman. Fewer are aware that he is also an accomplished marathon man. Mr Fung runs like the wind, finishing this year's Standard Chartered half-marathon in 2:16:55. Li & Fung, meanwhile, made the biggest corporate donation to Standard Chartered's related charity for disabled athletes, contributing $250,000. Lai See understands Mr Fung is gearing up for an even bigger challenge later this year, when he will go the full 26-mile, 385-yard distance at the London Marathon. Run, William, run!