ONE of the world's most intelligent ships was christened yesterday in Hong Kong, but there was a big touch of tradition too. Guests invited to tour Hapag-Lloyd's Stuttgart Express, which is stuffed with computers and even has a machine to turn kitchen waste into fish-food, were amazed to find the corridor full of boxes of women's knickers. And not just knickers - more than 100 boxes of socks, lipsticks, jeans, shirts and other similar stuff. Because the Stuttgart Express was on its maiden voyage, the tiny crew of humans who look after the computers couldn't leave the ship, which meant that the hawkers who used to ply ships coming into Hong Kong were once again called into action. Years ago, when a ship docked here it would be invaded by hawkers, who might lug their dozens of boxes of goods across to the ship in a junk and scramble with them up a rope ladder in the hope they'd be bought by the crew. US and Royal Navy ships were also targeted by sea-going tailors, who would measure up the officers on-board, then return a few hours later with a suit, the start of Hong Kong's instant-suit industry. It's been dying out, partly because all the hawkers have got jobs selling flats in Guangdong, and partly because it's no longer possible for the crew to make easy money selling the stuff when they get back home. The biggest industry in Hong Kong now is finance. Ever tried to flog a convertible Eurobond issue back in Southampton? Han tan AMONG the many people hanging out, literally, on Lamma Island these days is Han Dongfang, the dissident who certainly won't be appearing in Dragonair's inflight magazine. One female Canadian resident claims she saw him soaking up some of the warm winter sun a few days ago. He was sunbathing - naked. Smoked out DOES John Webb, the chief executive of Rothmans, enjoy a smoke? Yesterday, we turned up to Rothmans' slightly smoky offices in Causeway Bay to meet John, the new chief executive, to talk about the firm's recalcitrant Malaysian shareholders and, of course, we asked to see him light up. After a moment's hesitation, he whipped out a packet of Dunhill and obliged, using one of the three - yes three - ashtrays on the conference table. And he was really smoking, too. No Bill Clinton-style ''smoking'' without inhaling. ''Actually, I only started smoking when I came out here,'' he said. He's been here three months, and he tells his son he doesn't. You can see the effect smoking is having by looking at John's photo on page three. Look at the wrinkles and the greying hair. And he's only 23. Smokescreen SORRY. Just joking about the age of John Webb of Rothmans. Elsewhere, he was busy defending its decision to set up a joint venture with the Government in Burma to become the first international tobacco outfit to move into this totalitarian state. He told Bloomberg Business News: ''If foreign business does come into the country, that has to be a major influence on it. While we are outside we have no influence.'' We suggest that the first packet off the production line should be sent to Nobel Prize winner Aung Sang Suu Kyi. The Burmese Government has kept her under house arrest since July 1989, so she could probably do with a smoke. Spirited away HAS the fung shui curse of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel claimed another victim in the shape of its general manager Eric Waldburger? He's quitting, and won't be seen there after tomorrow. A source said he'd quit at very short notice after rows with either Ritz-Carlton management or Lai Sun, which owns the building. He denied the rows, but wouldn't say when he handed his notice in. Staff with an eye for superstition believe the curse exists, and a number of cleaning staff claim to have seen Japanese samurai ghost warriors in the ballroom late at night recently. Staff believe one of the sources of the curse is that it occupies the ground where the Japanese Army came ashore in 1941. Actually, they came ashore near North Point, but the hotel is near the landing point used when the Japanese sent a boat bearing demands for surrender. When the hotel was being built, construction was delayed by ''objects'' unexpectedly found underground. Then the Japanese firm building it went into receivership and left Eric running an empty hotel for a year. One mainland buyer got a poor report from a fung shui expert commissioned to look at the hotel, and the ballroom shakes a little when the MTR trains go underneath. However, new owner Lai Sun looked into the fung shui and then paid out $1.2 billion for the hotel, so they must have been happy with what they found. In the closet CLOTHES shop Theme is heading for the stock exchange, and yesterday its chairman Kenneth Lai was giving away the secret of Theme's success: ''We want to make our shops homely. We invite customers to visit our home and try our clothes on.'' His home is obviously rather unusual. Anyone visiting Lai See's home and trying our clothes on will be ejected by the police, so don't try it. Chief whip VIRGINIA Mumford, who used to work at the futures exchange but has now shifted to Jardine Fleming, is having no difficulty adjusting to her high-powered new job. Someone asked her yesterday what her new job title was. Her reply: ''Global superstar.'' Someone else with a new job title is the Marquess of Huntly. He's a member of the House of Lords whose title dates back at least to 1402, when Sir Adam Gordon of Huntly was slain fighting in the battle of Homildon. The current marquess, whose family motto is, inappropriately, Animo non astutia, is joining the board of Hop Ying International Holdings, a small Hong Kong-listed company whose total market value is a mere $214 million. Given that it has just recruited a member of the House of Lords, no one will be surprised to learn that Hop Ying makes and distributes leather goods.