Hong Kong leader praises city’s science park chief – a day after it is revealed she has forced her to quit

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation chairwoman Fanny Law a ‘dedicated leader’ who laid strong foundation for innovation and technology in the city, says Chief Executive Carrie Lam

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, 3:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, 5:26pm

Hong Kong’s leader has praised the outgoing head of the city’s science park as a “dedicated leader” less than a day after it was revealed she had forced her out.

The Post earlier reported that Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun had written to the board of directors of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), telling them she would step down next month, after being at the helm for four years.

However, a source said Law was “forced out” of her post by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

Law almost caused a diplomatic row with Sweden last year when her actions sparked accusations of interference in the academic freedoms of one of the world’s top medical universities, the 208-year-old Karolinska Institute, which has a branch in the science park.

Multiple sources at the time revealed Lam was forced to intervene, writing to the university to reaffirm Hong Kong’s respect for academic autonomy and narrowly averting a crisis.

Appointed by Lam’s predecessor, Leung Chun-ying, Law was named chairwoman of the publicly owned HKSTP in 2014.

Before meeting her cabinet, the Executive Council, on Tuesday, the city’s top official said she would not speculate on who might replace Law.

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“At this point in time, because the government has not announced the next round of appointments to the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, I cannot offer comments,” Lam said, before meeting the councillors, Law among them.

The chief executive called Law a “very dedicated” leader of the HKSTP Corp, and said her leadership had laid a “strong foundation” for the government to take forward its policies in innovation and technology, including those outlined in Lam’s policy address last year.

“Because of my personal commitment to innovation and technology, Fanny is perhaps the Exco member that I appeared most often together with in attending functions of the innovation and technology industry,” she said.

Law will remain a member of Exco, Lam added.

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Since its founding in 2001, the science park has attracted more than 600 firms, more than two-thirds of them from Hong Kong.

It also has 62 tenants at its InnoCentre and 165 more at its industrial estate.

Despite the large pool of tenants, the park is plagued by a high turnover rate. Close to 50 of the 220 people on its management team left in 2016.

Some tenants also complained to the Post about rent increases from HK$17 per square foot in 2013 to about HK$25 in less than five years.