David Akers-Jones

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The Honourable
Sir David Akers-Jones
KBE, CMG, GBM, JP
Governor of Hong Kong
Acting
In office
4 December 1986 – 9 April 1987
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Edward Youde
Succeeded by David Wilson
Chief Secretary
In office
10 June 1985 – 6 December 1986
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor Edward Youde
Preceded by Charles Philip Haddon-Cave
Succeeded by David Robert Ford
Personal details
Born (1927-04-14) 14 April 1927 (age 87)
Sussex, England
Alma mater University of Kent (MA)

Brasenose College (MA)

Sir David Akers-Jones KBE CMG JP (Chinese: 鍾逸傑爵士, born 14 April 1927) is a British retired colonial administrator. He was the Chief Secretary of Hong Kong from 1985 to 1987, and was briefly Acting Governor of Hong Kong.

Biography[edit]

He arrived in Hong Kong in 1957 after serving 3 years in the Malayan Civil Service and began his career in the Hong Kong Government in the summer of 1957.

During his long career, Akers-Jones served in many important posts in the Government of Hong Kong, including Principal Assistant Colonial Secretary, Secretary for the New Territories, which was later retitled as "The Secretary for City and New Territories Administration". He was instrumental in turning small villages into "new towns" in the New Territories teeming with factories, and apartment blocks to resettle slum-dwellers on the hillsides of Hong Kong Island.

He is incorrectly credited with the 1972 introduction of the now much derided[citation needed] Small House Policy (SHP) introduced by his predecessor which has transformed villages in the New Territories. Originally conceived as a means of preventing the decay and death of rural communities, this policy allows the sons of indigenous villagers to apply to the Hong Kong Government for a plot of land upon which to build a "small house".[1]

He was also Secretary for Home Affairs and Chief Secretary.

After the sudden death of Sir Edward Youde, Akers-Jones became Acting Governor of Hong Kong from December 1986 to April 1987. After retiring from the post of Chief Secretary in 1987, he became Special Assistant to the Governor Lord Wilson of Tillyorn for six months. He later became the Chairman of the Hong Kong Housing Authority from 1987 to 1992.

In the years leading up to the transfer of sovereignty from the UK to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1997, Akers-Jones was appointed as a Hong Kong Affairs Advisor (港事顧問) to the Government of the PRC from 1993 to 1997.

Sir David Akers-Jones is now retired and lives quietly in Hong Kong. After his retirement, Akers-Jones and his wife bought the dilapidated secluded villa, "Dragon View" in Sham Tseng for $1.5 million. The couple renovated it and worked extensively on the garden. They were served with a compulsory purchase order on 19 October 2000 when it was decided to go ahead with a road widening project.[2] He is thought to have obtained at least $30 million in compensation.[3]

Discovery Bay controversy[edit]

In 2005, Akers-Jones briefly emerged from retirement to defend, before Hong Kong's Legislative Council, his role in zoning the Discovery Bay resort project on Lantau in the 1970s. Developers were allowed to build there with the stipulation that it would become a resort, but most of the units were later converted into luxury housing. Akers-Jones was involved in the original zoning decision as the then Secretary for the New Territories.[4][5] With the new Hong Kong Disneyland having opened nearby and property prices having skyrocketed as a result, suspicions about the fact that the original zoning plan was never enforced have again come to the fore. He criticised the decision to call on an elderly man to testify on the matter, which happened some 30 years earlier. However, he revealed that colonial officials had abruptly changed the zoning of the Discovery Bay project, and gave it to new developers because they feared it would fall into the hands of the former Soviet Union.[4]

Political views[edit]

He has criticised Hong Kong's post-colonial government for continuing with the policy of maintaining high property prices, the lack of urban planning, and frequently ill-conceived plans to reclaim land in Victoria Harbour.

Akers-Jones has advocated converting the current Election Committee into a committee which would nominate suitable candidates for the post of chief executive for election by the public. He further believes in preserving functional constituencies as part of electoral reform, and believes that the constituencies should be turned into an upper house in a bicameral legislature[6] instead of abolishing them.

Memoirs[edit]

Akers-Jones has recently published a volume of reminiscences, entitled Feeling the Stones and pens the occasional letter to the South China Morning Post. He is also an infrequent columnist there and at The Standard.

Benevolent work[edit]

Akers-Jones is involved with, whether in the capacity of chairman, president, vice-president or otherwise, Wu Zhi Qiao (Bridge to China) Charitable Foundation, the Hong Kong Girl Guides Association, the local chapter of Outward Bound, the Hong Kong Football Association, Worldwide Fund for Nature Hong Kong, the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, Operation Smile China Medical Mission[7] and English Speaking Union (Hong Kong).

Operation Smile China Medical Mission (OSCMM) is a medical charity that provides free surgeries to the underprivileged children with cleft lips and / or palates in China. Founded in Hong Kong in 1991, OSCMM has changed over 26,000 smiles and lives with the generous support of volunteers and donors from all over the world. Through intensive resident training as well as surgical and life-saving training programs, OSCMM helps building long term capabilities of local medical professionals in China.

OSCMM is part of a global alliance of Operation Smile foundations and chapters dedicated to heal children’s smiles through surgery thus forever changing their lives.[8]

The Bridge to China (BTC) foundation, or Wu Zhi Qiao, is a charitable, non-profit organisation based in Hong Kong that is dedicated to building footbridges in rural mainland China. The organisation started in 2005 as a collaborative effort between the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Xi'an Jiaotong University to build a single footbridge across the Po River in Gansu province. Because of their hard work, local villagers were able to walk safely across the river to access markets, schools, and the outside world without fear of slipping, falling, or being washed away during rainy seasons.

BTC was officially inaugurated in 2007, and it was bestowed with the mission to mobilise university students, professionals, and volunteers to build sustainable bridges that not only improve the lives of villagers, but also inspire younger generations to help the needy. By having students build the bridges, there is a cultural exchange which inspires appreciation, respect, and preservation of the villagers' culture. The foundation has since flourished, forming partnerships with 17 universities in China, Hong Kong, and the United States.[9]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Meeting of the Panel on Planning, Lands and Works on 28 February 2006
  2. ^ Luk, Helen (6 November 2000). "Road to tears for ex-colonial chief". The Standard (Hong Kong). Retrieved 28 March 2007. 
  3. ^ Cheung, Jimmy (13 June 1997). "Sir David's home on road to ruin". The Standard (Hong Kong). Retrieved 28 March 2007. 
  4. ^ a b Murphy, Colum (13 January 2005). "Spy fear led to Disco Bay". The Standard (Hong Kong). Retrieved 28 March 2007. 
  5. ^ Ng, Michael (19 May 2005). "Disco Bay fiasco won't be repeated". The Standard (Hong Kong). Retrieved 28 March 2007. 
  6. ^ Wong, Albert (31 July 2006). "Election Committee key to suffrage plan". The Standard. Hong Kong. Retrieved 28 March 2007. 
  7. ^ "Sir David Akers-Jones". 
  8. ^ "Operation Smile China Medical Mission". 
  9. ^ "Bridge to China (Wu Zhi Qiao)". 

References[edit]

  • Sir David Akers-Jones (2004). Feeling the Stones: Reminiscences by David Akers-Jones. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 962-209-655-7. 
  • Akers-Jones, Sir David International Who's Who. Retrieved 3 September 2006.
Government offices
New office Secretary for the New Territories
1974–1981
Succeeded by
Himself
as Secretary for Home Affairs
Preceded by
Himself
as Secretary for the New Territories
Secretary for Home Affairs
1981–1985
Succeeded by
Donald Liao
Preceded by
Sir Charles Philip Haddon-Cave
Chief Secretary of Hong Kong
1985–1987
Succeeded by
Sir David Robert Ford
Preceded by
Sir Edward Youde
President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong
Acting

1986–1987
Succeeded by
Sir David Wilson
later became
Lord Wilson of Tillyorn
Governor of Hong Kong
Acting

1986–1987
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Elsie Leung
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Succeeded by
Chiang Chen
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal