Tony Chan: an alternative view

The arrest of Svengali-like, leering, mystic lothario Tony Chan Chun-chuen by Hong Kong’s valiant police is greeted with widespread glee across the Big Lychee today.  I am not sure whether his supernatural powers include divination, but I doubt he was surprised to find himself being detained and questioned after a court found him to have claimed deceased rich widow Nina Wang’s fortune with a forged will.

However, two things – in these conspiratorial times – raise concerns in my sordid and suspicious mind.  First, the police action was swift and sure in the extreme: they grabbed him as he came home from lunch, and did so in large numbers.  Second, the capitalist (as opposed to Party-funded) pro-Beijing press have taken great delight in publicizing the proceedings and making no secret of their antipathy to Chan (with the Standard, for example, declaring him a liar in its headline).

Where have we recently seen this combination of uncharacteristic constabulary eagerness and gloating pro-establishment media coverage?  Why – the arrest of allegedly gorgeous post-80s activist Christina Chan Hau-man as she left a radio interview three weeks ago, prompting her to accuse the police of ‘white terror’.  Could there be hidden parallels between the two episodes?

Let us recall yesterday’s comment about

‘flamboyant’ property tycoon Cecil Chao congratulating the [Wang] family … reminding us that Wang’s fortune was simply shoveled into her lap courtesy of the Hong Kong government’s high land-price policy, at the expense of the city’s home-dwellers.

L-R: Albert Yeung, Charles Ho and Jospeh Lau enjoying quality male-bonding time together

Nina Wang and Cecil Chao, like Standard and Sing Tao proprietor tobacco magnate Charles Ho, entertainment mogul Albert Yeung, property man Joseph Lau and certain others, comprise a sub-caste of the Hong Kong tycoon species.  Their public tastes, mores and connections set them apart to some degree from the polite society in which our top government officials and conglomerate-owners mingle.  (Ho is savoury enough to straddle the boundary.  Mainland officials are less fastidious minglers.)

This somewhat outré demi-monde of the establishment has sympathizers among our law enforcement community.  The police apparently allow their and other tycoons’ bodyguards to stop passers-by on the sidewalk so the great men can stroll unhindered from their (illegally parked) luxury cars to Fook Lam Moon restaurant.  When a young woman of modest background complained that someone had posted naked photos of her on the Internet, the cops did nothing.  When it happened to starlets working for Albert Yeung’s group, it became crime of the century.

Selective zealousness, incidentally, is becoming a hallmark of the Hong Kong police.  Andrew To was charged with assaulting a cop in October yesterday, just after being elected head of the radical League of Social Democrats, masterminds of the by-election/referendum saga.

Happier days: lawyer Jonathan Midgely and Nina Wang leaving court during a case about a forged will. (Not the current case about a forged will, obviously – a different one. Haven’t you been paying attention?)

So where does all this leave Tony Chan?  It could be argued that he is, as a former bartender who once lived with his wife’s family in a public housing apartment, a man of the people.  A humble ‘small potato’, at least before Nina Wang started to remunerate him generously for his companionship and he bought Peak properties, executive jets and so on. Therefore, his current plight could be viewed as the persecution by a vengeful, moneyed elite of an interloping social inferior (think Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed).

What this means is that his defence lawyer, the (not identically) flamboyant Jonathan Midgely – or whoever has the job – has an exciting opportunity to turn the case around in style.  He should now assert that Tony Chan was on a mission to reclaim the Hong Kong people’s rightful wealth.  The Wang legacy, remember, comes from the rigged, cartelized property market through which most of our tycoons effortlessly extract enormous sums from hard-working people.  Tony, according to this new approach, planned to take Nina’s estate and divide it up among all the poor and poor-ish in the city, giving them back their due.  He is, in a way, just another Christina Chan or Long Hair, though peculiarly happy-looking, and with a dash of Robin Hood.  The perfect story: out of the slammer, and a hero.  What more, apart from the jet, could he ask for?

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40 Responses to Tony Chan: an alternative view

  1. Sir Crispin says:

    I read about the bodyguards stopping pedestrians in Michael Chugani’s Public Eye column and as my office is nearby, I found myself wondering why do people allow themselves to be stopped? If some paid lackey told me to stop walking so his boss could walk by, I’d push right past and tell him to get stuffed. If challenged again, I’d cite MTR precedent…everyone ignores the ubiquitous “let passengers exit first” anyway and just pushes through. Another day in Asia’s World-class Joke City!

  2. R Lloyd says:

    Maybe because you dont get your kneecaps broken for pushing on the MTR

  3. Maugrim says:

    Ahh yes, I wondered how long it would take the media to comment on the goings on out the front of the Fook Lam Moon. People questioning with (justified) indignation is sign that some are beginning to question the ‘rules’ as they apply to various groups. The number plates out the front of the Fook Lam Moon give a clear idea as to ‘who’ is in this second tier of tai-pans.

    Sir Crispin, check out the Fook Lam Moon on a weekend.

  4. Sam says:

    Dear Sir Crispin,

    To quote Ol’ Granny from ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’, “I’d say all that big talk means doodly squat!”

  5. Sir Crispin says:

    Would you stop and wait just to let some prissy twit have the sidewalk to himself? I got better things to do with my time than wait on these pricks.

  6. Vile says:

    Bodyguard (noun): big, burly bloke with a low centre of gravity, difficult to push past without looking foolish. 😉

  7. Maugrim says:

    Actually, they aren’t that big at all. Mostly Ghurkas who know what they are doing though lol.

  8. Cecilie says:

    If it’s any comfort, it’s still better than the mainland where that kind of people hire thugs to throw people out of their own homes so property developers can … no, hang on … We do have those thugs. They’re called the URA.

  9. Sir Crispin says:

    Gwei Lo (noun or adjective, hmmm?): Large 6’4″ blue-eyed devil; decent centre of gravity, good for shoulder checking pushers on the MTR out of the way.

  10. Chanboy says:

    Really Crispin? You think you are a good fighter? I know people who work as those bodyguards and he’ll have you crying “mommy” in 2 seconds flat.

  11. Pete says:

    Li Ka-shing’s bodyguards pushed me out of the way once so he could get into a lift. But it was his lift and his building, so I let it go.

  12. Chanboy says:

    Since when has a fraudulent liar become the symbol of the common man? I have no problem with some guy, with his own honest efforts, to work him/herself up the ladder. What I do have a problem is when this former barman obtains his fortune through manipulative means and praying on the weak and vulnerable.

  13. Cecilie says:

    Weak, vulnerable and superstitious. Most of the money she gave him was to ward off evil, get her good luck by putting certain things in certain places etc. And she was the leader of a huge conglomerate.
    Makes you think about what “Lee Ka-Shing” (Lei Ga Seng) and the others get up to in their spare shrine.

  14. Herr Torquewrench says:

    Anyone know who owns the black and (hideous) orange Bentley (photographed by Hemlock some weeks ago and shown by him on this blog) – I saw it double-parked outside Fook Lam Moon the other evening. It has to belong to some sub-member of the Hong Kong, er, “Elite”…

  15. Da Docta Broka says:

    Everyone should have their own police force. I know I have.

    Beat the toerags out of the way. Kick the beggars. Anyone who isn’t rich in Hong Kong has no moral fibre. It’s the only language these people understand. Sell the widows and move into South African zinc.

  16. Sam says:

    A Gherkin a day keeps the Docta away.

  17. The Plod says:

    Encountered a bodyguard situation once: walked round him, stood in the way of the ‘VIP’ getting out of the Merc and gave them all some verbals. Made me feel better anyway.

    They have no legal right to block the way and if they try to push you aside, it’s an assault. Believe me, the last thing these chaps want is an ‘incident’ with a nowty (spelling!?) gweilo.

  18. realbodyguard says:

    I am a real bodyguard. I will tell you this, don’t underestimate our hidden strength, plod. You gweilos think you are so tough? Please. Even if we are not that physically imposing, I can promise you we are all highly skilled in various martial arts and combat techniques. You try to mess with us and I’ll make you wish you were never born.

    And as for all this VIP treatment? Don’t like it? Well, tough, this is Hong Kong. You got money, well you are in a different class. Sorry if this hurts your “feelings”. You can go back to where ever you came from if you don’t like it. Put up or shut up.

  19. Virgil Tibbs says:

    Hey, realbodyguard, it must really sting that you have to take orders from someone you could beat up so easily. Of course, you couldn’t touch him (or her), could you?

    What “class” is a goon in?

  20. Maugrim says:

    Realbody guard: Y”ou can go back to where ever you came from if you don’t like it”. What? The womb?

    Seriously though, I assume this is a swipe at someone you feel might be a foreigner. I can imagine the howls of indignation that would occur in say Canada or Australia if every time an Asian resident expressed an opinion they were told to go ‘back where they came from’. What if HK is that person’s home? Does their race matter?

  21. Sir Crispin says:

    Dear Realbodyguard, what legal justification would you have for making us wish we were never born simply for walking past you and your boss, when you land in court for causing bodily harm? No one ever doubted your abilities, else you wouldn’t be employed in your present capacity. We pose no threat to your protectee, we just want to walk past unhindered. Has the word assault ever entered your vocabulary, or is it limited to grunts?

    As to your attitude about our lack of money, well that just demonstrates your own arrogance. I imagine as a bodyguard you aren’t paid in the same financial class as your boss and I’m sure you don’t dismiss your own family this way. Everyone wants and deserves respect, it is not merely given to the rich, who likely either inherited it or obtained it by illegal means, by a fawning and worshiping serfs at their glorified feet. Get a clue dude…oh that’s right, that’s why you use your muscles and not your brains.

  22. realbodyguard says:

    How can this bald man be compared to Christina Chan or Long Hair? Both Christina Chan and Long Hair are trying to do something postive for the whole of society and correct social injustices, and Tony Chan? What has he done to benefit society? Not that Nina Wang was totally sane, but that’s just make it worse, you have this man preying on cooky people. I don’t see how he is Robin Hood in anyway.

  23. realbodyguard says:

    Crispin-I am just trying to defend the honor of bodyguards. It’s not an easy job. We take lots of abuse. I don’t want people to mistake our restraint for weakness. We can easily clobber everyone of you here, but we generally, don’t. You should thank us for being so forgiving in the face of provocation.

  24. Maugrim says:

    “You should thank us for being so forgiving in the face of provocation”
    It just gets better eh? So, walking on a public footpath is provocation? Get real.
    Sounds like you have some aggression issues to work out.

  25. Sir Crispin says:

    RB, no one is challenging your honour. I’m sure your jobs are demanding and your skills able, and needed on occasion. What we are upset about is the attitude of these rich pricks who think they can do whatever they want just because they have money. What makes them think they can stop everyone on the sidewalk, just so their precious feet can walk from the car to the restaurant? It’s arrogant, elitist and bullshit. Their shit stinks just like everyone elses.

  26. Sam says:

    As Tony Chan is a fortuneteller, wouldn’t he have known from the ouset that he was going to lose the case and get arrested afterwards?

  27. expat says:

    ‘I can promise you we are all highly skilled in various martial arts and combat techniques.’

    Learned where? From video games? Kick boxing class at California Fitness? Don’t make me laugh.

  28. realbodyguard says:

    Laugh at yourself, expat. You pathetic little douchbag has no clue what being bodyguard is like. You have no idea what getting into a fight with some crazed guy with a knife is like. You have no idea having to get up and work at odd hours is like. So may I kindly suggest you stuff it. Otherwise, if I ever do encounter you in real life, I just might gave you a beating you will never forget.

    Crispin- To my recollection, I have never pushed, beat or threaten anyone walking on the sidewalk. We have proper procedures. I can’t say for other bodyguards, but we strictly adhere to our rules of conduct. As to the rich pricks, well that’s just a occupational hazard for us.

  29. Chanboy says:

    @Sam
    Fortune teller can estimate future fortune, not predict the exact course of future history.

  30. Sir Crispin says:

    Seems the Testosterone Wars are flaring up. My pee pee is bigger than your pee pee. Whatever.

    RB my intent was not to blame the guards, but they are the ones stopping people so their Royal Assholes can cross the sidewalk. Why should I have to stop so His Holiness can get out of his car? Which was my point of screw the prick, I’ve got places to be myself and why I would just keep going anyway. No dig at you, just these self-important, entitled little dipshits and their thinking they can do whatever they want.

  31. Da Docta says:

    Sir Crispin wins the scarf as usual…

    As far as I know, bodyguards are very Third World and passe these days. Really important people have minders who are discreet and alert, not showy or forceful.

    Monkeys in suits belong in ’50s Triad movies, not in cosmopolitan 2010. Hong Kong capitalists are so primitive.

    I suspect realbodyguard is between jobs at the moment. Either that or he is having a laugh.

  32. smog says:

    That was link spam too! Is it really so hard for you to spot it Mr Hemlock?

  33. The Plod says:

    Realbodyguard – you really do have some inferiority-complex issues, don’t you? I don’t doubt that you have a difficult job but that does not give you (through your boss) the right to obstruct other citizens’ use of a public place or to use force on someone who is not physically threatening you or your charge. The law is equally applicable to you, your boss and the rest of us. And don’t assume that every ‘douchebag’ expat is a paper tiger – some of us do know how to handle ourselves.

    As for dealing with armed blokes trying to kill or do one serious physical damage, I personally have plenty of experience in the field. Indeed, I would wager that I’ve been in far more tricky situations than the average HK ‘bodyguard’.

    BTW I have the utmost respect for the ex-Gurkha chaps who are the salt of the earth. Unquestioningly honest, brave, loyal and even-tempered men. I can tell from your tone that you are not one of them.

  34. realbodyguard says:

    Crispin-Fair enough, I’m not defending those rick pricks. The clients we have tend to be more discreet and aren’t the usual show-offs my colleagues work for. My clients know they are just asking to be kidnapping-targets if they decide to flaunt their wealth, as Nina Wang’s family should know all too well. At any rate, they don’t consider public spaces to be their private spaces. Don’t label us all as working for rich vermins. Our clients are rich, but not all of them are pricks.

    Plod-Really? You can handle yourselves? What sort of “experience” do you have? I bet you don’t have ones I have. And what makes you think I am just an “average” HK bodyguard? You should think twice if you think challenging a bodyguard is no big deal or that you can somehow defeat them in a hand to hand fight. I know I can crush you easily if I really wanted to. Believe me, I have taken on drunk, armed and well-muscled Wan Chai gweilos who were in over their heads menacing my clients and made them regret it badly.

    I do agree however tht Gurkhas are really one of the best.

  35. realbodyguard says:

    Btw, Plod, is seems it is you who have the inferiority complex. Is it any of your business that some rich guy with his bodyguards is walking by you? From your tone, it is you who seems to intentionally walk to them and provoke them. It is one thing if they intentionally block your way. Then you have a point. However, it is another if you go to them and intentionally block his way. That “VIP” has every right to walk on the public path as you do. So what if he/she happens to be rich? Is it any of your business? Or are you just jealous and can’t stand the fact that some people are richer than you?

  36. The Plod says:

    RBG. It was never about challenging them to a punch-up. Losers are the ones who start fights. It’s the pig-faced audacity of people who think they own public space that galls me. Verbally putting them back in their place is sufficient. That is the kind of scene that, if I were the Big Boss, I’d be anxious to avoid and would chastise my workers for creating.

    “I know I can crush you easily if I really wanted to.” How old are you pal? Still in your teens? ‘Real Body Guards’ don’t come out with claptrap like that – they diffuse situations with well-chosen words and the unspoken threat of what may happen if a certain line is crossed. That’s what I’ve learnt in my experience over the years, for what it’s worth.

  37. realbodyguard says:

    I say what I want here, plod, because I can. In real life I am more careful with my words and conduct, particularly in my bodyguard profession. But I need somewhere to vent, to make some of you punks understand what we go through. To make you understand what we are capable of. And you haven’t answer my question, did you intentionally go up to the VIP and told him off? Yeah you are so “mature” in that. Idiot.

  38. realbodyguard says:

    Look, let me get this straight. If rich asshole decides to lord over some public sidewalk to the exclusion of others, then’s he wrong.
    If, however, he was just accompanied by bodyguards and getting from point A to B (from office to the car). Then it’s really none of your business.

  39. The Plod says:

    RBG – live & let live is my motto. So long as other people’s actions don’t unreasonably interfere with me, I don’t mind. On that occasion they did, I said my piece & walked on. Job done.

    Clearly you have a lot of pent up fury if this is the way you have to destress. If I was you, change jobs.

    BTW, this must be one of the longest ever threads on here. Let’s pat ourselves on the back and call it a day – everyone else seems to have lost interest and moved on.

  40. realbodyguard says:

    Fair enough, Plod. I will call it a day too.

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