Owner of exclusive club gets bitter taste of how it is to be thrown out Just because you are the owner of THE hip new club in Central doesn't necessarily mean you are an automatic celebrity. Not only can't you always get a table. Sometimes, in mid-meal you'll even be asked to leave. But how was newcomer to these shores Alistair Paton (below) supposed to know that? This week, he launched the Hong Kong franchise of his exclusive M1NT club, where unless you're a banker or a Ukrainian model, you'd be lucky to be allowed through the door. Last month, while entertaining some friends and staff, he was unceremoniously escorted out of the Azure restaurant on the 30th floor of the new LKF Hotel as if he were some two-bit paparazzi. In an e-mail sent shortly after the incident, Azure owner Tony Yeung explained to the Australian glamour boy that the fine French restaurant had not officially opened (that will be next month) and was serving only 'selected' guests. 'I am sure you would understand as you are also opening a new club with strict membership system and understand the importance of following in-house procedures,' pleaded Mr Yeung in the e-mail we obtained. You'd think. But a fuming Mr Patton in a counter-e-mail wrote having 'me and my guest thrown out halfway through our meal ... is not cool and really stupid and simply not done'. Not letting them in, though, would have been perfectly fine. M1NT proves a mint Meanwhile, M1NT, which is owned by Mr Paton and 300 shareholder/members, appears to be off to a great start. After broker Cantor Fitzgerald threw a HK$1 million champagne party last Friday, the club revised up its revenue forecast. Originally, it expected HK$14.3 million in sales in the first year. Now, they think it could be achieved in six weeks. Mr Paton, who founded his first London private club after selling his commodities firm for US$10 million, is looking to set up in Shanghai next year. He owns 48 per cent of the Hong Kong club, with the remaining held by shareholders who chipped in between HK$50,000 (0.125 per cent share) or HK$500,000 (1.25 per cent) for their stakes. Crab mentality Ever wonder why Hongkongers are so fond of hairy crabs? After all, they are not exactly friendly to diners. First, there's the cholesterol. Then, even if that doesn't bother you, where do you start? Lai See always feels hungry after what was supposed to be a big crab meal. But Lai See is a minority. More than 431 tonnes of the critters were imported into Hong Kong last year, which is why you feel swamped in them every autumn. It is an incredible big business, too. One of the major importers is China Resources, whose subsidiary Ng Fung Hong delivered 50 tonnes last year. It has sold crabs to Hong Kong for more than 45 years. It has only begun raising crabs itself on a leased 50-acre farm in Suzhou. This is the first year they are hitting the market. Courtesy of China Resources, we'd like to offer two pairs of its male hairy crab (weight seven tael each) to four readers who would like to share the fun of crab eating. We'll provide the English recipe, sauce and scissors to two readers who can name a food-related business the blue-chip China Resources operates. (Hint: One of them is No3 Hong Kong player in the sector behind Wellcome and ParknShop). Charity begins at home It is always nice to have a caring father like tycoon Li Ka-shing who can afford to buy toys for his tots. Nine years ago, Prince Richard paid top dollars for a Tokyo project. Five months later, he sold 45 per cent to his dad's Hutchison Whampoa at a discount. In September, both Richard and Hutchison made big gains. Happy ending. Why stop when you're ahead. When Prince Richard got tired of his 22 per cent stake in PCCW, guess who the buyer was? After much searching, golden broker Francis Leung Pak-to could find few takers to join him in purchasing the stake other than the old man's charity arm, Li Ka Shing Foundation, which is snapping up a 45 per cent stake (again) of what younger Li doesn't want. But don't tell this to Prince Richard. Yesterday he insisted he didn't know his father is involved in the deal, diverting querying reporters to Mr Leung. Tricky Business is on holiday.