Former Hong Kong undersecretary for home affairs Florence Hui remembered as a good daughter, mother, wife, worker and devoted public servant at memorial service

  • Among those attending service were former leader Leung Chun-ying and Tsang Tak-sing, her boss while at the Home Affairs Bureau
  • Former home affairs undersecretary died on December 3, aged 44
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 December, 2018, 8:42pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 December, 2018, 10:16pm

Friends, family, acquaintances and Hong Kong government officials past and present paid their last respects to former home affairs undersecretary Florence Hui Hiu-fai at a memorial service on Sunday.

Hui was understood to have been battling breast cancer. She succumbed to complications from the disease and died on December 3, aged 44.

Around 500 mourners attended a service arranged by her family at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Sunday afternoon.

“This winter is the coldest one in my 45 years of life,” said Philip Zhai, her husband of 17 years, in a poignant closing speech.

Also providing eulogies were former chief executive Leung Chun-ying, former home affairs minister Tsang Tak-sing, former justice secretary Elsie Leung Oi-sie, Monetary Authority chief Norman Chan Tak-lam and Hui’s brother Christopher Hui Ching-yu, an executive at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

Former Hong Kong home affairs undersecretary Florence Hui dead at 44

Hui was remembered as a good daughter, mother, wife, worker and most of all, a devoted public servant who was serious about her job and serving the community, especially in her work on promoting Chinese culture, supporting social enterprises and in religion.

“We are all familiar with her charm, character, her aspirations and expectations, so today we should peacefully remember her for the frequent smiles, joy and happiness she brought us,” said Tsang, her former boss at the Home Affairs Bureau, struggling to hold back tears.

Elsie Leung remembered witnessing the “gentle, passionate Hui” enter office and worrying whether “such a kindhearted person would be able to handle it in the bowels of politics”.

“She was immensely successful,” she added. “She was able to tackle any problem, whether it was presenting policies at the Legislative Council or dealing with the media, she always handled the task with a smile on her face and full of confidence.”

Condolence money collected during the service was to be given to the Compassion Award run by the Hong Kong and Macau Taiwanese Charity Fund.

A graduate of Chinese University, Hui was made undersecretary for home affairs in 2008 under Tsang and reappointed in 2012.

In 2012, Hui was tipped to become the minister for a new culture bureau proposed by then incoming Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying. Filibustering by pan-democrat lawmakers put a stop to the plan.

“With her background in the cultural and financial sectors, coupled with her heart and ability, she was an ideal choice for secretary,” the former chief executive said in his eulogy. “This would come to be, for Florence and I, a shared regret.”

Call for universal breast cancer screening in Hong Kong

Hui left the government last year after nine years.

Before public service, Hui had worked in finance including as head of business planning and development for Northeast Asia at Standard Chartered Bank and secretary of the Hong Kong Association of Banks.

Hui is survived by her husband and two young daughters, Serene and Sophie.