DESPITE the United Democrats' populist, grassroots image, no one has ever suggested Martin Lee Chu-ming was the sort of chap you might see hanging around a fish-market with his vest rolled up over his belly and a can of beer in his hand. If you did not know he had been educated at Kowloon's Wah Yan college and Hong Kong University, you'd think he was straight out of one of those exclusive and very private British ''public'' schools. Hong Kong doesn't suffer from any of those ridiculous British hang-ups about class. And Mr Lee, Queen's Counsel and son of a former Kuomintang general, is fairly upper crust anyway. So while the British Labour Party may be slightly embarrassed about the public school education of its shiny new leader Tony Blair, the UDHK isn't going to fuss about the fact that Mr Lee is sending his son Joey, 13, to Winchester College, one of Britain's oldest and most expensive schools. Winchester, founded in 1382, charges boarders like Joey over GBP12,000 (HK$ 141,000) a year. Compare that with the $61,000 a year, plus a $75,000 debenture charged by the Chinese International School, Hong Kong's top rich-kids' educatory, and you realise we're talking big money here. But for that you get a lot of education. Ask Geoffrey Howe, he went there. The recently published ''league table'' of top British schools puts Winchester in the no 3 slot, with 84.38 per cent of its pupils scoring A and B grades at A level. Mr Lee may not have a UK passport, but he's not going to sniff at a British-style passport to success for his son. TALKING of children of the great and good: we were hoping to bring you news of Kate Patten's return to Hong Kong this year to spend her second summer in a row as an intern with Cable TV. But interns rarely come back, and this year Kate's written to Cable TV to say, well, actually she's off to pursue her Spanish studies in Mexico. But she will drop in to say hello before she flies off. Jacqueline Woo, however, daughter of magnate Peter Woo, did do a brief internship at Cable TV this summer. And much to the surprise of the newsroom, she was actually very good at the job and impressed everybody. ''She was great. The nicest rich-kid you ever met,'' said one veteran journalist. Wait a minute. Doesn't her father actually own the place? OVER to Macau, where a frenzied search for scapegoats is under way. A head, any head, will have to roll. A biographical note of Chinese Prime Minister, Li Peng, describing him as arrogant, and noting he had been bitterly attacked by the Chinese people for his role in the June 4 massacre, appeared in a press-kit for journalists covering the visit of Macau Governor Vasco Rocha Vieira. Of course the Governor denied it had originated in any government department and the Chinese were very sporting about it all, blaming the incident on ''some people'' trying to undermine the Sino-Portuguese relationship. But what's the truth? ''Sheer incompetence, in my modest opinion,'' said our Macau mole. ''In any normal and civilised society, the press adviser would be crucified.'' At the moment, however, fingers are being pointed rather further down the ranks than the Governor's press man. It seems the style of the piece, especially the reference to the nuclear plant in the ''Gulf of Daya'', suggests the biography was translated from press clippings in Chinese, probably from Hong Kong publications. You guessed right. They are hoping to pin this on Jimmy Lai and Next magazine. SOME people just can't get enough passports. The British National Overseas (BNO) passports were introduced in 1987 to replace the 1997-expiry date British Dependent Territories Citizens (BDTC) documents and people jumped in with both feet to get the hard-cover BNOs into their travel wallets. Now, up against final deadlines for getting the new documents, Immigration officials say people already holding BNO passports have been applying for another one. Apparently when the new soft-cover, machine-readable BNO passport hit the market, they decided they would add it to the collection. Immigration says you can't judge a book by its covers, and that the newer soft-cover BNOs offer no more privileges than the hard-cover versions. Application fees are being returned with a brief note of explanation.