Edward Szczepanik may have been best known internationally as the last prime minister of a Polish government in exile, but in Hong Kong he will be remembered as the first economist to chart the city's transformation from fishing village to industrial powerhouse. He is also credited with being the first to estimate the size of the population - apparently by totting up rubbish disposal figures. Szczepanik, who died on October 11, aged 90, was a senior lecturer at the University of Hong Kong from 1953 until his departure in 1961. 'One of his biggest contributions to Hong Kong was that he was the one who suggested forming the Trade Development Council and Productivity Council in an article in the Far Eastern Economic Review,' recalled one of his students, Chan Sui-jeung, now a fellow at the Centre of Asian Studies. Mr Chan remembered his lecturer as short and stocky with a jolly countenance, who began to comprehensively analyse Hong Kong's economy from its beginnings as a fishing village to its status as an industrialised city by the 1950s and a textile manufacturing capital. 'In those days, very few people took Hong Kong's economy seriously,' said Mr Chan. 'One of the reasons Szczepanik said Hong Kong's economy was unique was because the spindles in the factories in Hong Kong were working in three shifts whereas those [of textile competitors] in Lancashire [England] only worked one.' Szczepanik was also involved in fisheries work at the University of Hong Kong. Mr Chan said Szczepanik would tell the students about his role in the second world war, where he suffered under the Germans and the Russians. His unit was sent to Vilnius in Lithuania and he was interned by the Russians. After the German invasion of Russia in June 1941, Poles were granted an amnesty and Szczepanik joined a Polish infantry regiment. He was later attached to a Royal Artillery unit in Iraq. On his retirement from the army he was granted the Polish Cross of Valour. After the war, Szczepanik went to England, where he completed his PhD thesis at the London School of Economics and became active in helping his countrymen. While in Hong Kong, Szczepanik wrote The Economic Growth of Hong Kong, published in 1960. After his stint in Hong Kong, he worked for the Harvard Advisory Corporation in Karachi, Pakistan, before heading to Rome to work for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation for 14 years. In Hong Kong, his most important work was in economics, but for Poland, his most important work was as part of a government in exile in London, which was established after the Russians took over Poland. Later, with Szczepanik's support, Lech Walesa became president in 1990.