Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hong Kong rivalry, cont.

A HK English language newspaper, The Standard, reported in February that Walter Kwok had been making many business decisions of late under the influence of his mistress of four years, Ida Tong Kam-hing.

This (either the newspaper story or the reality behind it) may have been the catalyst of the decision of other family members -- Walter's two brothers and the family matriarch -- to oust WK from his role as chief executive at Sun Hung Kai, as I chronicled in an entry here last week.

By the way, The Standard itself has some amusing history. It was once known as The Tiger Standard, the creation of Aw Boon Haw, a fittingly Asian mutation of the William Randolph Hearst publishing/tycoon type.

Aw's signature product was Tiger Balm, a cure-all muscle rub that may be a placebo but is a marvellously successful one. Preservationists might want some re-assurance: no tiger parts are employed in the creation of the product.

But back to the Kwok family, its construction/realty business, and Friday's hearing. Walter sought but was refused an injunction against a board meeting. So it now appears that his brothers and mother will be able to oust him from any operational role in Sun Hung Kai.

This doesn't mean that Walter will go quietly. He's suing for defamation.

Hmmm. The business seemed to be doing pretty well before this public tumult began. Maybe they all need to calm down and find a way to go back to work. Could there be a simple balm for soothed egos?

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