Richard Li's Journal prefers to let rival do the talking A war of words has been raging for the past 10 days over the coverage of the PCCW privatisation debacle by the Hong Kong Economic Journal, both of which are owned by Richard Li Tzar-kai (below). In the run-up to last week's eventful shareholders' meeting, the paper chose not to carry any reports about the alleged vote-rigging. The day after, it ran a report of what happened at the meeting, including angry shareholders' comments, but none of the paper's columnists commented on the report. This sparked a commentator from the rival Hong Kong Economic Times to express her disappointment that the Journal's chief columnist, Joseph Lian, had opted to write about his English learning experiences rather than adding his voice to one of the city's most controversial stories. Lian hit back in yesterday's paper, saying he preferred to pick subjects with government administration and policy implications such as whether Citic Pacific group managing director Henry Fan Hung-ling should remain on the Executive Council after the foreign currency accumulator losses, or how responsible the regulators were in the Lehman Brothers minibonds scandal. The PCCW privatisation was more a market matter between the majority and minority shareholders, he said. However, he did concede: 'Vote-rigging is a dirty behaviour. If there was sufficient evidence to prove that Richard Li or any other PCCW executives were involved, then they would be deemed as bad as Bernard Madoff.' Funnily enough, alongside Lian's column were two commentary pieces very critical of PCCW's role in the affair. AIA in hiring mode American International Assurance is likely to be the subject of a lot of affection on Valentine's Day. For while most companies are now in firing mode, AIA has chosen Saturday to launch its biggest ever recruitment drive as it looks to hire 3,000 financial planning professionals. AIA, a subsidiary of the now US-government-owned AIG Group, last held a 'Career Day' in April 2002, although last year the company did add about 2,500 people to its workforce. Candidates are being offered as much as HK$20,000 a month plus benefits, while AIA has set aside HK$50 million for training new recruits. Interviews will also be held on Sunday. In these trying times, the government is showing its support for the initiative by sending along Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung (above) to officiate at the opening ceremony at the AIG Tower. An employer in need is an employer indeed. Now we'll find out who the real caring companies are. Sporting chance A group of 15 sports fans from the hedge fund industry are digging into their own pockets to sponsor a team at this year's Rugby 10s tournament, the curtain-raiser to the Hong Kong Sevens. Each of the group has chipped in US$2,000 to make sure the New Zealand Legends squad can make it to the event at Hong Kong Football Club on March 25 and 26. The Legends, who usually include former All Blacks in their line-up and even had Jonah Lomu (left) playing for them a couple of years ago, have been sponsored by HSBC Holdings in the past. However, this year the bank will only be sponsoring the Penguins, a British touring side. Acknowledging that the hedge fund industry has something of a selfish reputation, Paul Smith, a director at Triple A Partners and also the chairman of the Tens organising committee, said: 'It is time for us to do something constructive and positive and so we are collectively doing so.' Anti-climactic note It seems we got a bit overexcited with our translation of Ronnie Chan Chichung's comments about the Hong Kong property market on Tuesday. We quoted the Hang Lung Group chief as saying that after a number of not-so-great years in the market, once in a while there would be an 'orgasm' on which to capitalise. Mr Chan's people rang yesterday to say the phrase used should have been translated as 'climax' and suggested a cold shower might be in order.