Hong Kong Jockey Club taps former mainland affairs minister Raymond Tam for key communications role
Tam will be responsible for ‘enhancing the club’s engagement strategies with stakeholders in both Hong Kong and the mainland’ as executive director of corporate affairs
Former Hong Kong minister for mainland China affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen is joining the city’s sole authorised gambling operator to oversee its corporate communications and strategic engagement across the border.
Tam, 54, who was secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs from 2011 to 2017, will become Hong Kong Jockey Club’s executive director of corporate affairs on August 15, the 134-year-old club announced on Wednesday.
Tam’s hiring comes after the central government announced in April that it would allow horse racing on the southern island of Hainan, along with sports betting, as part of a pilot study to make the province a free-trade port.
In light of Beijing’s decision, Hong Kong Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said at the time that the club was open to advising Hainan, but added there would be many obstacles in developing horse racing from scratch.
A source said on Wednesday that Tam was hired to fill a position that had been vacant for nearly two years, and his appointment was not related to the developments in Hainan.
The post was previously held by Dr Kim Mak Kin-wah, a human resources veteran who first joined the club in 1993 and was appointed the president of the Caritas Institute of Higher Education in February 2017.
Tam, who is a Hong Kong deputy in the National People’s Congress – the country’s top legislature – would be responsible for “enhancing the club’s engagement strategies with stakeholders in both Hong Kong and the mainland”, according to the club’s announcement.
A career civil servant with 30 years’ experience in Hong Kong government, Tam would also oversee the club’s public affairs, external affairs and mainland affairs, while coordinating corporate communications for all divisions of the organisation.
Tam was expected to oversee the club’s charity work on the mainland as well as horse training.
The club has been consulting on the mainland to develop equestrian sports since 1986, as well as advising how to manage sports betting since 2009.
Tam was hired in October as vice-president of health care and education for New Frontier Group, which was founded by Tam’s former boss Antony Leung Kam-chung, Hong Kong’s financial secretary from 2001 to 2003.
A spokesman of the New Frontier Group told the Post on Thursday that Tam left his vice presidency on June 30, and became a senior advisor to the group the next day.
“He will provide his expertise, experience and counsel to the strategic development of the group,” the spokesman said.
Co-founders of New Frontier, Antony Leung and Carl Wu, thanked Tam for his leadership and contributions, according to the spokesman. The group is still looking for a replacement.