Mum's the word on mystery man's bank board bid Kwok Siu-man was the name on everyone's lips at the Bank of East Asia's annual general meeting yesterday. Who? That's exactly what a shareholder asked when Mr Kwok's nomination as an independent non-executive director of the blue-chip lender was read out. Bank chairman David Li Kwok-po admitted: 'I have never met him and neither have our directors.' He then asked the company secretary to read out Mr Kwok's biography. For the past 25 years he has served as company secretary with a number of firms, including Great Eagle, K Wah International and Sing Tao Holdings. He now works for SEA Holdings, a tiny listed property company. Mr Li said the nomination did not come from the board or a minority shareholder, pointing out that anyone can be put forward as a director by a shareholder under the listing rules. This sparked grumblings from the floor that the bank should in fact be reducing the number of its directors. One shareholder drew the loudest round of applause when he called on the executives to follow the example of overseas financial institutions and volunteer to cut their basic salaries. During the break, some shareholders cornered Mr Li to ask who had nominated Mr Kwok. At this point Mr Li's brother and deputy bank chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung stepped in to reveal that it had been Madam Wong Po-king, Mr Kwok's mother. The matter was finally laid to rest when 88 per cent of shareholders rejected Mr Kwok's nomination. Calls of contention One of the lighter moments to emerge from yesterday's Court of Appeal hearing into the PCCW privatisation bid came when Securities and Futures Commission counsel Winston Poon was being quizzed by the judges about those phone calls between Pacific Century Regional Developments deputy chairman Francis Yuen Tin-fan and Inneo Lam Hau-wah, a regional director at Fortis Insurance Asia. The relationship between the two men is central to the SFC's allegations of vote rigging being involved in shareholders approving Richard Li Tzar-kai's HK$15.93 billion buyout of his telecommunications company. The SFC has been unable to discover what was said in those five calls on January 5, the day Mr Lam bought 500,000 PCCW shares and as the judges queried the circumstantial evidence, Mr Poon lamented in a joking aside: 'If we knew beforehand we could have tapped their phones. But then of course, we would have had to ask PCCW to tap their own former vice-chairman's phone.' Crossing the sound barrier So much for Technology Court. Most of the 50 journalists watching the live feed of the PCCW case on a giant screen outside the hi-tech courtroom had difficulty hearing what was going on during all the 'exciting bits' in the first hour. A technician was eventually called in to do something about the sound levels of the judges' microphones. If the price is right Hutchison Whampoa's latest quarterly in-house magazine Sphere has a cover story entitled 'Consumers' Choice' about how 'private labels and own brands offer customers superb value and great quality'. Ironic that it should come out just before the Consumer Council pointed its finger at supermarket chains ParknShop, owned by Hutchison, and Wellcome for cheating customers by raising the prices of items before offering discounts to make them appear cheap. Boy meets girl Just a day after China Huiyuan Juice's chairman likened his company's ill-fated takeover by Coca-Cola to an affair with a boyfriend who failed to pass the parent test, Geely Automobile boss Li Shufu (above) felt inclined to speak of his firm's courtship with Volvo. At Geely's post-results briefing yesterday, the chairman was quizzed about whether his company was interested in acquiring Volvo from Ford. 'Volvo is like a girl - beautiful but mysterious,' he said, adding that she had several suitors. 'But this Volvo girl is complicated too - it's better to wait until she takes off her mysterious veil.' It must be something they're putting in the boardroom tea urns.