Tuesday 30 August 2011

Hong Kong People With More Money Than Sense

Two recent news stories each defy common sense to the tune of a minimum of HKD10 million (or US$1.3 million).

Pics from Google Images link

In one story, wealthy parents of a teenage girl allowed her to collect 1,000 Louis Vuitton handbags and then bought a flat especially for the handbags. Each LV handbag cost a minimum of HKD6,000 and a typical small flat costs HKD6 million, which makes a minimum of HKD12 million spent.

In another story, a scheming blackmailing mistress managed to squeeze HKD10 million from a Hong Kong businessman, and was holding out for an additional HKD129 million with the threat of killing his wife, daughter and business partner.

And to contrast this, there is a poignant letter about poverty in Hong Kong, where we are reminded that there are one million Hongkies who live under the poverty line.


Government has clearly failed the poorest families in this affluent city (SCMP letters)
Aug 25, 2011

The Oxfam World Wealth Report 2011 findings on poverty in Hong Kong came as a shock to most people and served as a wake-up call for the city's government.

The report said that there are 144,400 poor families with children aged 15 and below in Hong Kong, and one in six such families frequently goes hungry due to lack of money. Statistics show that in 2009, there were one million people living under the poverty line, of which 340,000 were children. These sagas sound like tall stories for an affluent society like Hong Kong.

Our government is spending billions of dollars on infrastructure projects and dishing out HK$3.7 billion to all permanent residents whether they need it or not. How much do poor people with a voice count on the economic scales of the administration? The Oxfam findings are totally unacceptable in a city that ranks fifth among well-to-do economies in the world.

Your editorial ("Knee-jerk fixes no solution to poverty", August 19) hit the nail on the head. The Commission on Poverty set up in 2005 emphasised more employment opportunities for youth before it folded in 2007. The social enterprises schemes passed on to the Labour and Welfare Bureau have not eased poverty effectively.

Similarly, the Community Care Fund launched last year and into which HK$730 million was injected for 2011-12, has 10 major items on its agenda. But they only cover areas outside the existing social security network, that is, the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme that caters to people's basic needs. Since the Oxfam study showed that the poor families have only half the median income of HK$9,500, the CSSA should be thoroughly reviewed to see where it has gone wrong.

Vice-Premier Li Keqiang urged the city's government to seek "practical and active" solutions to improve people's livelihood. One such effort is the Guangdong authorities' war on poverty, featuring the dispatch of 11,000 officials to villages in poor areas for up to three years to drive poverty out of the province. Another suggestion is to expand the food banks currently run by five non-governmental organisations under the sponsorship of the Social Welfare Department.

Poverty is not a crime. But for an affluent society to leave poverty unresolved is to breed social unrest. It is incumbent upon the city's government to seriously tackle the poverty that has sounded a death toll for our caring society.

Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels

Bags of money (The Standard)
Kelly Ip
Friday, August 19, 2011

The wealthy parents of a teenage girl allowed her to collect 1,000 Louis Vuitton handbags and then bought a flat to store them - before they discovered she was suffering from autism.

Most sufferers are diagnosed when they are just two or three years old, but the girl with the LV obsession made it to 17 - after a five-year shopping spree - before her secret came to light.

She was addicted to high-end LV handbags, which cost from HK$6,000 to HK$15,000, because of their famous logo and patterns. She also got her parents to buy her a flat for them.

The parents with more money than sense eventually took her to see a psychiatrist after she lost her temper and broke a glass, injuring her mother who was trying to tidy up her LV products.

The LV tale was revealed by psychiatrist Miao Yin-king of Mind Pro Psychological Centre as she warned that addiction to shopping may be a symptom of autism.

Autism is a disorder that affects the brain's healthy development of social and communication skills.

Miao said around 30 percent of autistic children show normal intelligence, making it harder to detect.

"Many parents just think their children have worse tempers than others and do not seek help," Miao said. "Nobody wants to label their own children.

"Autistic children usually get outstanding academic results, especially in mathematics and science. So why would parents think their children are autistic when they are so intelligent?"

The handbag girl is now 20 and fully recovered, Miao added. It was a lesson of life, she pointed out: buying branded products or even obsessively collecting car magazines may not be just a shopping problem but a sign of autism.

Autistic people, she added, can be obsessed by items like pens or even graphical patterns like triangles and squares, which make them want to collect and possess them.

Psychiatrists seldom use medicine with behavior treatment for autism patients but, according to a clinical study in Britain, symptoms are reduced in more then 60 percent of patients receiving treatment and the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole.

Aripiprazole was originally used to treat people with early psychosis to control their behavior. Then it was found useful for autistic patients, with only minimal side effects.

The 17-year-old LV girl took the drug for a couple of weeks before she received behavior treatment, during which her relatives gradually took away half of her LV products.

She was finally able to accept an environment without being surrounded by LV products and went on to find another pastime - swimming.

The antipsychotic drug, which is on the list of the Hospital Authority formulary, costs about HK$30 a day, but the quantity is varied according to a patient's condition.

A consultation fee at a public hospital is HK$55, while HK$800 is charged for a 50-minute session at a private hospital, according to the Hong Kong Psychological Counselling Center.

Six in 1,000 people in Hong Kong have serious autistic symptoms, while two in 1,000 are diagnosed with autism.

'I'll kill you all'
(The Standard)
Diana Lee
Thursday, August 25, 2011

A wealthy businessman was milked of millions of dollars by a bar hostess who threatened to kill his family when he tried to pull out of their affair, a judge heard yesterday.

The woman allegedly threatened to kill the businessman, his family members and business partner when he wanted to end their relationship after five years.

Ki Chun-yim, 37, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of blackmail between December 2007 and October 2, 2009, and one count of perverting the course of justice between March 27 and April 5, 2009.

Ki - petite, with a pointed nose and thin lips - occasionally turned her head to peek at her ex-lover during the hearing.

She is accused of attempting to extort HK$120 million from the businessman.

The identity of 50-year-old "Mr X" is protected by a court order. He testified in a low voice from behind a screen, describing his months of ordeal.

X said he met Ki at a bar where she worked in "public relations" in 2006 and she soon became his mistress. He put her up in a rented flat in Sham Shui Po and paid her HK$60,000 to HK$80,000 a month.

Their relationship turned sour in August 2007 and he wanted to break up as she often asked for money.

Ki demanded HK$800,000 to HK$1 million as a "break-up fee," X said. "She used hints or expressive words indicating threats to my family."

X said Ki hated his wife - named as Y - and said she tried to encourage him to leave her.

"Tell Y to have fun with her son while he is alive," Ki was quoted by X as saying.

"She also said, 'Your wife is so smart at work and you both can live together happily, while I am left alone. I will hurt your family as I have asked how much I need to pay someone in Shenzhen to do this,'" X told the court

She increased her demand to HK$2 million and X gave her another HK$1 million, making HK$10 million in total.

In early 2008, Ki claimed she was pregnant and demanded money to live in Canada, X said. "Even if she was carrying my baby, it would not change our relationship. It was over," he added.

X said Ki hired private detectives to track him. On one occasion she entered the building in which his family lives.

In April 2009, at a restaurant, Ki demanded money. X quoted her as saying: "Your family of three will be destroyed and killed. You can prepare your own coffins. All those around you will die one by one before you. That's the biggest punishment for you."

Ki became agitated and threw plates on the table, causing a minor cut on his hand. She then warned X to expect more bloodshed in his family.

"I surrendered again," X told the court, saying he paid her HK$3 million.

The prosecution said X gave Ki HK$5 million on October 14, 2009, with a note saying this was for "full and final settlement."

However, a month later Ki caused a nuisance to Y which led to Ki's arrest.

Ki told police she received HK$8 million but was promised HK$10 million. She did not mean to harm X and his family despite her threats.

X only knew from a newspaper after Ki's arrest that she had a 15-year-old daughter.

The trial continues before judge Kevin Browne in the District Court today.

Ex-lover's 'HK$139m blackmail' (SCMP; Paywall)
Bar manager threatened to kill the wife, daughter and business partner of wealthy married man 'Mr X' if he didn't pay her the money, court told
Patsy Moy
Aug 25, 2011

A bar manager demanded payments totalling HK$139 million from her wealthy former lover and threatened to kill his wife, daughter and business partner if he didn't give her the money, the District Court was told yesterday.

Ki Chun-yim, 39, was with the man, identified only as Mr X to protect his identity, for about a year.

He rented a flat for her in Sham Shui Po and paid her HK$60,000 a month, the court heard. But testifying from behind a screen yesterday, Mr X, now 50, said after they split up, Ki told him she had hired private detectives to watch him.

This made him believe she would harm him, his family and his business partner, identified as Mr Y.

Mr X told the court: "She was able to specify what law firms or investment banks I had visited.

"She was also able to tell of conversations between me and Mr Y when we were in a massage parlour.

"She said to me something like, `You enjoy a happy family life while I am always alone and lonely. I will make sure your family will be destroyed.'" He added: "She asked me to buy coffins for my family members.

"She also said, `I will make sure your family members will die ahead of you. That will be the heaviest punishment on you.'

"It was out of extreme fear about her threat that I gave in and made payments to her."

Senior Public Prosecutor Virginia Lau Siu-yee told the court that Mr X made several payments to Ki totalling up to HK$10 million, but she kept approaching him for more.

Ki, represented by Lawrence Lok SC, pleaded not guilty to nine charges of blackmail, totalling HK$139 million, and one charge of perverting justice. The alleged offences took place between December 2007 and October 2009.

Prosecutor Lau said Mr X came to know Ki in a pub where she worked as a public relations manager in September 2006.

But the relationship turned sour and Mr X decided to part from her in August the following year. Mr X said they argued about money.

He said: "When I told her I did not have in my bank account the amount she wanted, she said she wanted my company stocks."

He added: "Once I stayed overnight in her place and there was a knife on the bed. She said she wanted to use it to kill me."

In March 2009, Ki threatened to hurt Mr X's wife and daughter. She also told him it would be no use calling the police as she was "prepared to spend her life in jail".

Ki made a report to police that month, but afterwards she threatened Mr X again, asking him not to give a witness statement to police, it was alleged. Ki was then arrested on December 10 last year. Lau alleged Ki made her first attempt at blackmail in December 2007 when Ki met Mr X outside her flat.

She asked for HK$2 million or she would kill his wife and their daughter. She also threatened to kill Mr Y.

Mr X later paid HK$1 million in the hope of settling the matter.

But Ki continued to go after Mr X, calling him and going to his office and his home, it was claimed.

He later paid her further payments of HK$4 million. On several occasions between April and 0ctober 2009, Ki asked for HK$120 million.

One afternoon in June 2009, Ki went to Mr X's office with a fruit knife and pointed it at him, Lau said.

Ki was remanded in custody. The hearing will continue today.


  1. There was a story here about people living in 2x1m cages and paying more rent per sq m than luxury apartments last year. Sadly, unless there are riots or something, do you really think the government is going to do anything about it? Or are they too busy helping the richest families?

    Oh dear, and I bet that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Hmm, shopping addiction possibly autism related, but I don't think 95% of the female population is autistic!

  2. Well, the government has decided, in its infinite wisdom, to hand out HK$6,000 (about AU$750) to everyone here (Hong Kong residents). It's their way of telling people that there is a lot of money in the public purse, and that they are too stupid and lazy to figure out how to help the most needy so instead they have just decided to give everyone the same amount. I mean, not everyone is in need of the one-off handout, so it would have been better to have just targeted those who are genuinely in need of welfare. Using the funds to help improve the welfare system in Hong Kong would have been a good start too.

    Perhaps the entire female population in Hong Kong should be screened for autism! Lol.

  3. Yes, better services for the least well off would be a sensible place to start, so I wonder if there is something contentious coming up? They might want to bribe, err, butter up the public before bringing out the unpopular measure.

  4. It's an "election" year (the term election is used very liberally), which means we have a lame Donald Duck who is keeping quiet these days. The new focus is now on the candidates who are vying to replace Donald Tsang. So yes, there will be lots of buttering up of the public until after the new chief executive is confirmed along with the reshuffles.

  5. So do you get the bribe, err, handout too?

    Yes, the elections over there are similar to those favored by dubious regimes, where the result is not in doubt.

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