Some of the city's best known fung shui masters are joining forces to set up the world's first industry association to regulate the profession. The move follows a series of scandals and court cases - including Tony Chan Chun-chuen's attempt to claim the vast Chinachem fortune of late tycoon Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum - that have hit the reputation of the ancient Chinese art. Tentatively named the International Taoist Metaphysics Association, it could be up and running before the end of the year. It will centralise and publicise the teachings of fung shui, fortune telling and the art of divination of Mao Shan under the Taoist religion, and will aim to maintain Hong Kong's reputation as the world capital of fung shui. The association will set up a transparent list of fees and probably introduce a system for providing free services to people on welfare. It will also establish a complaints mechanism. About 80 fung shui masters have signed up to be part of the association, including some of the city's best known experts, such as Szeto Fat-ching, Mak Ling-ling, James Lee Shing-chak, Wong Cheung-yu, Ng Pui-fu and Ma Lai-wah, as well as show-business personalities who practise the art, including singer Rosanne Lui Shan and film producer and presenter Charles Heung Wah-keung. Szeto, who will be the association's first chairman, said the Chinese arts of fung shui and divination originated from Taoism, which dates back thousands of years, but because of the Cultural Revolution a lot of the knowledge and traditions had been lost on the mainland. However, many fung shui masters had fled to Hong Kong, where they preserved the ancient art. Szeto said Hong Kong had thus become the world capital of fung shui, with the art having spread to a lesser extent to Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Establishing an industry association would serve as a good example for other countries, he said. The city was estimated to have about 50,000 fung shui practitioners, including those studying it and those working part-time in the field, he said. But the lack of regulation had given the art a poor reputation, and it was time to do something about that, Szeto, who hosts a TV show, said. 'I've seen enough to tell what's the real deal and what's not,' said Szeto, who testified at the Wang probate hearing that the will Chan presented to claim her fortune was a fung shui will. 'Some people use [fung shui] as an excuse to tell lies to earn money or free sex, but this is a humiliating abuse of the culture and history of fung shui and Taoism,' Szeto said, referring to cases involving models falling for purported fung shui masters' claims that having sex with them will bring the women fame and fortune. 'With a professional association, the public can learn about what's real and what's not,' he said. 'For example, sex should not be involved in 'joint practising'. The public can also find out from the association who are properly trained fung shui masters, so they will not be cheated.' Another of the masters who will join the association, James Lee, said practitioners had been hoping for such a body for a long time. 'Many masters are doing things differently and things are not standardised. The conduct of many is also questionable,' Lee said. 'We need to improve our social image and to improve our professionalism.' Szeto said that despite practitioners' willingness to join forces, the association would not succeed without recognition from the Hong Kong Taoist Association, including association chairman Tong Wai-ki and committee member Junno Tang Hong-si. 'Fung shui, fortune telling and the art of divination are all derived from Taoism, which is basically the national religion for Chinese people and a culture deeply rooted in the Chinese race,' Szeto said. 'It is essential to have recognition from the leading Taoist association.' Tang, who is also chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, said he hoped that in the long run the association would not just regulate the industry, but set up schools and a centralised syllabus to provide authentic training for young people interested in joining the field. 'In this way people can see that this is a profession with prospects and there is nothing mysterious about it,' said Tang, who will be president of the new association's board. 'The Tony Chan case was a real shame for the fung shui sector,' he said. 'We hope to set up a complaints system, and if someone finds misconduct, we can publicly condemn the person's behaviour and kick that person out of the association. This will be the most severe punishment, as the person will probably not be able to stay in the business.' Tang also suggested that if a client complained about a master's quality of service, the association could provide a referral to an alternative. Another of the masters who will join the association, Ma Lai-wah, said the new body would follow strictly the teachings of the Taoist Association and hopefully it would become a member of that association. Those behind the new association hope it will be up and running at the start of December, before an international fung shui exhibition scheduled for Hong Kong in mid-December.