University of Hong Kong has refused to disclose the salaries of its vice-chancellor and senior managers following a challenge from an academic staff union. Chan Che-wai, chairman of the Academic Staff Association, wrote to vice-chancellor Professor Tsui Lap-chee on Monday, asking whether a newspaper report claiming that he was paid HK$4.8 million was correct. The university's financial statements show that eight senior staff were paid the top rate of HK$4.05 million or more last year, compared with one staff member in 2006. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is paid HK$4.017 million a year. Dr Chan noted in the letter that the HK$4.8 million figure was twice the amount paid to civil servants of directorate grade eight - the level set for university heads before delinking in 2003. He claimed the report had given the impression that university heads had supported delinking so their own salaries could be raised faster than those of other staff. 'To remove any doubts, it would seem appropriate to give all staff some indication of the salaries paid to the senior officers of the university, such as the deputy vice-chancellor, the pro-vice-chancellors, the deans, the finance director, the registrar and the librarian,' the letter states. Dr Chan said: 'We want to make sure that the vice-chancellor is not making excessive pay awards to senior managers at the expense of academic staff across the university. The number of senior staff paid more than the chief executive has increased eightfold in the past two years. It's extremely worrying. 'If more money goes to administration, less will be available for teaching and learning.' An HKU spokeswoman said Professor Tsui had the same pay cut as other academic staff in 2004 and 2005 but it was not university practice to disclose remuneration details of individual staff due to privacy concerns. It could also have a negative impact on the university's ability to compete for talent. 'Please also note that the highest paid staff are not necessarily the most senior management staff, as there is a competitive element in different streams within the university.'