THE head of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) has been selected as the executive secretary of the Provisional Arts Development Council (PADC), despite strong objection from the arts community. It is understood that Cheung Che-kwok was selected with a vote of just eight to five, with three abstentions, in a meeting of the working group of the provisional council in mid-December. This was the second time members of the working group had cast a vote over the selection of the two shortlisted candidates. The other contender was a secondary school vice-principal, Katherine Hall Wing-hing. The first vote resulted in a tie. Support for Mr Cheung came mainly from representatives of the administration and the municipal councils, while opposition came from the arts community sitting in the working group. Mr Cheung, a former actor who has served as the executive director of COSH since October 1991, will be responsible for the implementation of new PADC policy from next April. A spokesman of the Recreation and Culture Branch said the offer is subject to completion of the relevant employment procedures, including execution of the final one-year contract. Those who opposed Mr Cheung's nomination said they preferred the school principal to fill the post as they wanted someone who was more familiar with the education sector. Mathias Woo Yan-wai of the outspoken arts group Zuni Icosahedron said: ''We do not doubt Mr Cheung's management ability, but we do doubt if he will be a good leader. He is known to be a 'yes' man of the Government.'' The chairman of the working group, Sir Joseph Hotung, has said the post of executive secretary should be filled by someone with good organisational ability, motivation and experience with arts. He said the candidate should also be able to liaise with government bodies.