For those on the firing line, no news is good news Firing the news guy seems to be the easiest way to make it to the front page. According to some nosy hacks, that would explain how the new Asia Television chief executive, Ricky Wong Wai-kay, keeps popping up in the papers. His first week at his new Tai Po office has already seen resignations of two top newsmen. Reports suggest Mr Wong could fire about 180, or half the news department, after the Lunar New Year. Peace be with Tai Po, home to many news outlets, including part of this paper. 'No news is good news' is how journos in Tai Po greet each other these days - said to be working better than 'Merry Christmas' in lifting spirits. But how did it all start? One version, we heard, was that Mr Wong had initiated talks with his former competitor, Linus Cheung Wing-lam (above), and asked for an introduction to the Cha family, the majority stakeholder in ATV, who were reportedly reluctant to provide more funding for the ailing broadcaster after losing HK$800 million in their first year. The pair met at the Mandarin Oriental coffee shop three weeks ago, according to an eyewitness. Mr Wong apparently convinced Mr Cheung he had some good ideas to stop the free television station from bleeding. He also made it known he aspired to increase his fame quotient by taking charge of ATV. His confidence, as the grapevine has it, grew after graduating from a part-time Executive MBA programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he is said to have done some serious thinking on how to expand ATV's frontiers beyond its long-distance and fixed-network businesses. We are not sure how many more vigorous cost-cutting measures would be implemented, but we can safely conclude that Mr Wong will emerge a winner. He will make history if he can turn around ATV. If he doesn't, he can't be blamed either, as no one could. Sweet deal, eh? Reit's revolving door Another day, another executive departure from the Link Reit. Chief financial officer Chew Fook Aun was headhunted to become the chief financial officer of Esprit Holdings following the footsteps of former Link Reit chairman Paul Cheng Ming-fun, who became the apparel retailer's vice-chairman in July. As his parting gift, Mr Chew agreed to stay past June to ensure a smooth transition. Mr Chew was the third finance director since the listing of the real estate investment trust three years ago. Link has had three chairmen and three chief executives in these three years. Chew on that. In the red Wonder how the wine buffs whose portfolios are in the red are drowning their sorrows these days. We are talking of reds like the 2005 vintage of Bordeaux's famous Chateau Lafite Rothschild, which has fallen 25 per cent since summer. According to the BBC, a case of 12 that would have cost #10,000 (HK$114,500) in July now retails for #7,500. But look at the bright side. Cheaper wine could mean cheaper dinner too. Especially if you are using that wine to chase down lobster, which is at a 25-year low. Why eat sardines when you can eat lobster? Worse than you think A lament we heard over wine: just how much worse can an insurance company do in getting new business amid the current financial crisis? According to an informed source at a major Hong Kong life insurer, his company possibly had the worst month in China ever this October. How bad? He showed six fingers. Down 6 per cent? No, he shook his head. Down 60 per cent? Nope. It was just 6 per cent of the business in October last year. One that didn't get away Think Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's auctioning of the US Senate seat left vacant by president-elect Barack Obama is the pits? Think again. Blagojevich has some serious competition in Suzhou. Li Yongyuan, a fisheries official in charge of Yang Cheng Lake, famous for its hairy crabs, went around telling crab farmers to give him their best products for the central leaders. Once he had the gullible farmers in the net, he would quickly sell his catch in the market, making a cool 3 million yuan (HK$3.39 million) in the process. He hid his wealth remarkably well, and none of those around him had any inkling of his ill-gotten riches. Some remember him as a man who would fly into a rage if he lost just a few dollars at mahjong. Wonder how angry the state should be with him.