Hong Kong leaders bid final farewell to ‘King of New Territories’ Lau Wong-fat at funeral service

Pallbearers include current and former chief executives Carrie Lam and Tung Chee-hwa, as well as officials and deceased’s former driver

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 12:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 11:36pm

The late “King of the New Territories”, Lau Wong-fat, reached his final resting place in his home village near Tuen Mun on Thursday after an elaborate funeral service at which Hong Kong’s political elite paid their last tributes to the rural strongman.

Those attending the Buddhist event at the Hong Kong Funeral Home in North Point included Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung and leaders of the Liberal Party, of which Lau was once a member before he quit to join the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong.

Delivering a eulogy, Lam praised Lau for dedicating his life to the New Territories, adding that he was a great mediator. “All the achievements he earned did not come accidentally,” Lam said.

“Those who knew him spoke highly of him. He never rejected those who sought help from him.”

At the request of Lau’s family, the press was not allowed in the funeral hall to cover the service, which ended at about 10.30am.

The 10 pallbearers included Lam, former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, central government liaison office director Zhang Xiaoming, Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen and Executive Council convenor Bernard Chan.

The others were former lawmaker Sophie Leung Lau Yau-fun, former officials Michael Suen Ming-yeung and Shelley Lee Lai-kuen, Heung Yee Kuk vice-chairman Cheung Hok-ming and Lau’s former driver, Lau Hau-on.

Guests were given a copy of a memorial book on Lau, which included a piece written by his widow, Ng Mui-chu. Ng said she felt proud that Lau’s work for society was recognised by the country and the government.

In another piece, Lau’s son, Kenneth, said his father was a great man, and that he faced both pressure and motivation living in his shadow.

After the service at North Point, Lau’s hearse passed by the Heung Yee Kuk headquarters in Sha Tin, the Tin Hau Temple in Tuen Mun and Lung Kwu Tan village, where Lau was born.

Delivering a eulogy at the memorial service outside the kuk headquarters, another son, Francis Lau Yip-kwong, said: “The best way to commemorate him is not to present wreaths or give offerings, but it is for us New Territories villagers to become united.”

Rural leader Leung Fuk-yuen said: “[Uncle Fat] lived life to the fullest. He was a great leader and a man of integrity and honesty.”

Lau was later laid to rest at an ancestral grave in Lung Kwu Tan.

Lau chaired the Heung Yee Kuk, which advises the government on rural affairs, for 35 years. He was also an executive and legislative councillor. He was also appointed by Beijing to a panel that drafted Hong Kong’s post-1997 mini-constitution, securing a provision guaranteeing rural rights.

In recognition of his contribution to society, he was awarded a Grand Bauhinia Medal by the government in 2005.