Hong Kong party set pay tribute to ‘heart and soul’ of Lan Kwai Fong

Old friends gather to remember the life and colourful times of bar and event manager Dick Kaufman, who died in May

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 July, 2016, 8:16pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 July, 2016, 11:02pm

Friends of Dick Kaufman paid tribute to the big-hearted bar and event manager on Saturday by doing what he loved best: throwing a party. The flamboyant New Yorker, who died in May, helped to put Lan Kwai Fong on the map in the late 70s and 80s during the transformation of an old garbage collection area in Central into an entertainment hub.

Kaufman was remembered for his joie de vivre by the party set.

“Dick was a character, a fun, warm and caring guy who loved to party,” said business magnate and former boss Allan Zeman. “People were drawn to him. He was a good guy who never hurt anyone.”

Loft 22 in Zeman’s new California Tower was the spot for a gathering of old friends commemorating Kaufman’s colourful life.

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After managing Disco Disco, one of the area’s first nightclubs, Kaufman was hired by Zeman to take the helm at California restaurant. Zeman said he was struck by Kaufman’s ability to attract the flashy and famous to the restaurant. The bon vivant boasted a social circle that included Canto-pop star Danny Chan. He loved to organise parties as much as he enjoyed attending them, if not more, friends recalled, fitting in well with the vibrant and close-knit community of Lan Kwai Fong’s in-crowd.

“Lan Kwai Fong was like a village, a star-studded village,” Zeman said, “and we were like a family.”

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After working in Lan Kwai Fong for several years, Kaufman took on various event management roles before retiring to Phuket, Thailand, 15 years ago. He died from cancer, aged 71.

Another old friend, local music stalwart Anders Nelsson, said: “Allan Zeman may be considered the father of Lan Kwai Fong, but the heart and soul will always be Dick Kaufman. May he rest in peace.”