Li raises his voice as Apple reporter raises a stink The truce between Li Ka-shing and his not-so-favourite Apple Daily came to an abrupt end yesterday. Five months after Mr Li shook hands with the newspaper's financial reporter in a friendly post-press conference gesture, the 81-year-old became annoyed with the same journalist yesterday when she asked questions about Le Prestige residential development in Tseung Kwan O. In the past month, Cheung Kong (Holdings) has sold out Le Prestige, part of the massive Lohas Park project that it is co-developing with MTR Corp, despite several articles in Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's newspaper about the stench from the landfill in the vicinity and pointing out that there is a biogas plant near the residential site. At yesterday's post-results press conference, the reporter asked Mr Li about the smelly environment in Tseung Kwan O - the Apple Daily offices are in the same area. It caused him to raise his voice. 'Hey, your newspaper attacks me and my businesses all the time,' Mr Li said. 'That is not the way to do business, although we don't have a lot of business [together]. 'I don't usually visit a residential site these days, but I just spent few hours there - the air was refreshing. I would say the area is greener than the green.' But the reporter pressed on. 'Did you go at night?' she asked. Mr Li's elder son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, immediately jumped in to say, 'I have been there many times, day and night.' Although Cheung Kong produced a better than expected interim report card yesterday, the unwanted publicity of the past month has obviously rankled. Unforthcoming forecaster It's a question that gets asked every six months - what does Li Ka-shing see in his crystal ball? To his credit, the man behind the sprawling conglomerate that operates businesses in 54 countries correctly called the bottoming out of the global recession in March and also predicted the top of the China bubble in late 2007, when he dumped his mainland shares. However, he is usually less generous with his tips than fellow tycoon and friend Lee Shau-kee. When reporters repeatedly asked for Mr Li's views on the economy and stock market, he declined to make predictions because he said he did not want others to get hurt. Instead, he reiterated the advice he had given for the past few years about not borrowing money to play the stock market. However, the ever-cautious Mr Li did venture: 'I would not be a stock buyer at this level', although he was swift to add that it would not stop him raising his stakes in his two blue-chip flagships. He said his foundation was always interested in buying newly listed stocks with low price-earnings ratios and high dividends, but hinted he might not be interested in low-yield government bonds. Finally, when asked how he hedges against inflation while global governments rush to print money, Mr Li said: 'I know. But I can't tell.' The last word - iPhone As usual, Hutchison Whampoa group managing director Canning Fok Kin-ning (above) had the last word at yesterday's briefing, asking reporters: 'Have all you guys got your iPhones?' The shrewd businessmen ignored a number of responses that the trendy gadget was too pricey by calling out: 'You can get it for free.' He's factually correct, but only if you subscribe to the HK$298 monthly package for two years. However, his direct sales approach is obviously paying off, as the only one of Hutchison's nine core businesses that showed an improved profit and turnover in the first half was Hutchison Telecom Hong Kong - probably thanks to the launch of iPhone. Celebrating with dividends Alibaba.com chairman Jack Ma Yun knows how to keep his shareholders happy. Despite reporting a 24 per cent decline in profit, the internet firm announced a special 20 HK cents dividend to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Hutchison Whampoa shareholders must be feeling jealous, especially as they have received the same dividend for the past nine years, with the 3G global start-up losses mainly to blame. Although Li Ka-shing indicated a possible dividend increase should the 3G business turn profitable, the break-even goalposts keep being moved every year. In fact, that alone should warrant a special dividend for the shareholders' patience.