TWO-TIME Hong Kong champion David Yao is on course for a $12,000 payday after booking his place in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Amateur Snooker Championship at the Sun Mong Club in Hunghom last night. Yao, 44, is playing in his first local tournament since emigrating to the United States in June. His latest victim was Au Chi-wai, whom he beat four frames to two in a quarter-final tie lasting four hours. Yao's semi-final opponent next Monday will be teenager Chan Kwok-ming, the Hong Kong Super League champion. The winner of this tie will be awarded a ticket to the next Asian Snooker Championship. Yao has had a successful year as the territory's top snooker player. He was a semi-finalist in the Salem invitational in April, losing to Hong Kong's only professional Franky Chan Wai-ming in a close encounter. He had won the tournament the previous year. The American-Chinese player also came close to winning this summer's Tung Ying Cup when he narrowly went down to Thailand's former Asian amateur champion Sakchai Sim-ngam in the final despite leading the decisive frame in a 6-5 defeat. The promising Chan Kwok-ming, who reached the last 16 in the World Amateur Championship in Pakistan this month, beat Ho Kon-ki in another quarter-final tie. The two remaining quarter-finals take place at the Sun Mong Club in Hunghom tonight. Rookie Kei Sai-hung meets Lau Shu-chou in one match and Hong Kong's World Championship representative Chan Wai-tat takes on Chung Wai-cheung in the other.