The lawyer for the vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Education Bernard Luk Hung-kay yesterday cast doubt on claims that the former permanent secretary for education and manpower never told his client that teachers were 'all so stupid' during a lunch in Canada. Martin Lee Chu-ming SC revealed new evidence to challenge two witness statements claiming that Professor Luk could not have spoken to Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun at the official lunch in Toronto in 2000 because they were not seated together. 'We checked. We found three of the people listed to sit at Mrs Law's table did not actually attend [the luncheon],' Mr Lee told the inquiry into allegations of government interference into the HKIEd's internal affairs sparked by Professor Luk. Mr Lee's revelation came after Benjamin Yu SC, for the commission of inquiry, read out a witness statement given by Donald Tong Chi-keung, then director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Canada, which organised the event. Contrary to Professor Luk's testimony, Mr Tong claimed he did not recall introducing the vice-president to Mrs Law, neither did he hear her making the remarks: 'Tell me something bad about Hong Kong teachers' and that Hong Kong teachers were 'all so stupid'. Mr Tong's statement also said his office would have sat more important guests next to Mrs Law, who was then director of education. Lisa Wong Kwok-ying SC, for Mrs Law, earlier presented a seating plan to the commission, showing that Professor Luk was sitting at a different table. She also submitted a statement given by Eddie Cheung Kwok-choi, then deputy director of the Toronto trade office, whose evidence supported Mr Tong's. But Professor Luk stood by his testimony. He said after he was introduced to Mrs Law at the reception, 'I walked towards the table with her, still talking. We never stopped talking until she decided not to talk to me anymore. I wasn't even aware there was a seating plan for lunch.' 'Is there any reason for you to correct your evidence as a result of these two statements?' asked Mr Lee, referring to Mr Tong's and Mr Cheung's statements. 'No, I remember clearly what happened,' he replied. Institute president Paul Morris told the inquiry earlier he came under pressure from education minister Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, former Chinese University vice-chancellor, to merge with the university. Professor Morris also testified he was pressured by Mrs Law to sack four academics who had publicly criticised education reforms.