A veteran industrialist and indigenous residents' leader have been awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal in one of Hong Kong's shortest-ever honours lists. Founder of Chen Hsong Group Chiang Chen, and legislator and Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat received the city's top award - which has not been given out in the past two years - in recognition of their services and achievements. Dr Chiang was praised for setting up a foundation in support of industrial research and training, both on the mainland and in Hong Kong. Mr Lau - who in 1998 was awarded a Gold Bauhinia Star, the second-highest honour - was lauded for his 'lifelong, significant and unparalleled contribution to the well-being of Hong Kong', particularly in rural affairs and district administration of the New Territories. The lawmaker, who represents the district council functional constituency, was pleased with the honour. 'I am glad that my work has been recognised. For those who have doubts [about deserving the honour], I would say it is all a matter of perspective,' he said. A total of 273 people have been honoured in this year's list, the shortest list since 2001 and 104 fewer than last year when several awards were given to Sars heroes. The number of Gold Bauhinia Stars awarded is the lowest since the handover, when the medals were first awarded. Only seven people received the second-highest honour this year, compared with 15 last year. Among them were former secretary for heath, welfare and food Yeoh Eng-kiong, who resigned last year following the Sars saga. Some Sars victims yesterday criticised the award and said Dr Yeoh should not accept it. 'His only contribution is his error that led to the death of hundreds of people during Sars. If he is shameless enough, he can go ahead and pick up the award,' said Eric Lau Yun-sum, whose mother died of Sars. Chan Yi-ling, who caught Sars at the Prince of Wales Hospital, said: 'Why do we give him a prize after he stepped down because of the errors he made?' Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chairman Ma Lik was the only politician on the gold star list. 'I am happy to receive the award, but the honour belongs to my party,' Mr Ma said. Davis Hui Ying-yeung, deputy director of protocol, said the honour list was approved by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen when he acted in the post in May. The awards ceremony will be held in October.