Lau Wong-fat

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The Honourable
Lau Wong-fat
GBM, GBS, JP
劉皇發
Lau Wong-fat at Victoria Park 20100619.jpg
Member of the Legislative Council
Incumbent
Assumed office
8 October 2008
Preceded by Lam Wai-keung
Constituency Heung Yee Kuk
In office
6 October 2004 – 16 July 2008
Preceded by Ip Kwok-him
Succeeded by Ip Kwok-him
Constituency District Council
In office
2 July 1998 – 13 July 2004
Preceded by New parliament
Succeeded by Lam Wai-keung
Constituency Heung Yee Kuk
In office
9 October 1991 – 23 June 1997
Preceded by New constituency
Succeeded by abolished
Constituency Rural
Chairman of Heung Yee Kuk
Incumbent
Assumed office
1980
Chairman of the Tuen Mun District Council
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 January 2012
Preceded by Leung Kin-man
In office
1 January 2000 – 1 April 2011
Preceded by New council
Succeeded by Leung Kin-man
Non-official Member of the Executive Council
In office
21 January 2009 – 30 June 2012
Appointed by Donald Tsang
Member of the Provisional Legislative Council
In office
22 February 1997 – 8 April 1998
Personal details
Born (1936-10-15) 15 October 1936 (age 78)
Hong Kong
Nationality Chinese
Political party Economic Synergy
Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong[1]
Other political
affiliations
Liberal Party (1993–2008)
Federation for the Stability of Hong Kong (1991–93)
Spouse(s) Lau Ng Mui-chu
Residence Hong Kong
Alma mater Ling Shan College
Occupation Legislative Councillor
Religion Buddhism
Lau Wong-fat
Traditional Chinese 劉皇發
Simplified Chinese 刘皇发

Lau Wong-fat (劉皇發), GBM, GBS, OBE, JP (born 15 October 1936 in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong) is a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, representing the Heung Yee Kuk constituency. He was a member of Hong Kong Executive Council.

He is chairman of the powerful Heung Yee Kuk, which represents the interests of the New Territories establishment, and chairman of Tuen Mun District Council.[2]

This political strength in rural Hong Kong has been morphed into power centrally and with Beijing. For this, together with his extensive ownership of land and property, he is known as the "King of the New Territories" (新界王) or the "Land Emperor of the New Territories" (新界土皇帝).[3]

Billionaire[4] Lau is politically identified as a leftist, part of the pro-Beijing camp. He is a member of the CPPCC, and hence has a close relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.

New Territories politics[edit]

At the age of 22, Lau was selected by local villagers to be a representative of Tuen Mun. Four years later he became chairman of the Tuen Mun Rural committee.[5]

In 1970, he became chairman of the Tuen Mun Rural Committee, a position he held for 41 years, until in April 2011 the committee amended its constitution to limit any chairman to no more than two four-year terms.[6]

His longstanding membership of the Rural Committee is as village representative for Lung Kwu Tan. For many years unopposed, in January 2011, he faced the village's approximately 600 voters, after a challenge following the controversy of his failure to disclose some of his property holdings. He and his ally won comfortably, with even the defeated young candidates claiming "I just want to learn things from Fat Shuk [Uncle Fat]."[7]

As the rural committee chairman, Lau was automatically an ex-officio member of Tuen Mun District Council, and became its chairman in 1982. He briefly lost this position in April 2011 with his ousting from leadership of the Rural Committee. After failing to win a seat in the November 2011 District Council elections, and against protests by Rural Committee members and local villagers, he was directly appointed back to the council by Chief Executive Donald Tsang, and on 4 January 2012 was elected by District Councillors back into the post of council chairman.[6][8]

Since 1980 Lau has been chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk, which represents established local interests in the New Territories, having been elected to his ninth term in June 2011.[4] This position is the core of his power.[9]

Hong Kong politics[edit]

In 1985 Lau became a member of the Regional Council. He then joined the Liberal Party and the New Territories constituency.

In 1991 he was elected to Legco, representing the Heung Yee Kuk functional constituency and held the seat (including as a member of the Provisional Legislative Council, 1997–98) until 2004.[4][10]

In the 2004 Legislative Council elections, he stood in the 'District Councils' functional constituency and won, with the help of mainland and pro-government forces. The reason for the move was to ensure that the seat vacated by Ip Kwok-him, a member of the DAB (then called the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong), was taken by a pro-government member. Another rural leader took the kuk seat. A year later, Lau was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal, the highest honour the government can bestow on a member of the community.

There was then a further twist. So that Ip could run in the 2008 election in his former constituency (District Councils), Lau stood for and of course re-won the Heung Yee Kuk seat. It was shortly afterwards, in January 2009, that Lau was appointed to Exco, a predicted move that was seen as a reward for his cooperation.[4]

Thus he is now a member of the Legco, as well chairman of the Kuk, and of Tuen Mun District Council, among his various other positions.

Lau's performance in Legco is considered one of the worst as he had not initiated a motion since 1998. His first motion was on 4 December 2013 against the incorporation of Tai Long Sai Wan into Country Park but was defeated.[11]

Political record[edit]

In 2009 and 2010, Lau supported the disputed HK$66.9 billion funding of Express Rail, and advocated the controversial reform of methods for selecting the CE and LegCo.

He was at the centre of the declaration-of-interest scandal in 2010. However, Legco ultimately refrained from investigating Lau, for unknown reasons. This has caused some people believe that there was collusion between Lau and the government for mutual gain.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

In 2014, Lau was awarded top position in the no-show charts in his participation of the Legislative Council. His attendance rate at work has stirred up concern that he was actually deceased given his age. When finally on the rare occasions where he attended work and proven still to be alive, his response to his lack of appearance was very typical of his arrogant persona stating, "It's not a sin, is it?"

China politics[edit]

Lau is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.[21]

Controversy[edit]

Quitting the Liberal Party[edit]

In September 2008, Selina Chow, the former chairwoman of Liberal Party, complained that Lau Wong Fat had been canvassing for the DAB's Cheung Hok-ming, her main competitor, and this led to her defeat in the Hong Kong legislative election, 2008. The Liberal Party's acting chairwoman, Miriam Lau, later confirmed that Lau Wong Fat had left the party.[22]

Property disclosure incident[edit]

In October 2010, Lau was publicly criticised for his purchase of 19 properties in Yuen Long through companies linked to him after he failed to disclose at least some of the acquisitions to the council within the required 14 days.[23][24] In a span of 10 days he revised his declared total ownership of land three times, bringing further criticism from leading figures such as Legco House Committee chairwoman Miriam Lau and deputy chairwoman of Legco's Committee on Members' Interests Emily Lau.[25][26] His portfolio was later revealed to contain a large amount of land in Hong Kong with 724 plots of land and he was described as "a huge landlord" by Miriam Lau.[5][27] He owns partly or in full the following:

Plots of land owned Location[27]
521 plots Tuen Mun
122 plots North District
33 plots Yuen Long
4 plots islands near Hong Kong
2 plots Tai Po
2 plots Mainland China

Together with his family and through various companies, he owns 40 commercial and residential properties including houses and flats. Prior to October 2010 he registered only 337 plots of land.[27] He failed to declare the purchases of three houses in Yuen Long in April and 16 flats in Yoho Midtown through Carofaith Investment, in which he holds 40% stake.[27] Another company controlled by his son Kenneth Lau Ip-keung and Lau's daughter-in-law also bought eight flats in Yoho. His son sold three of them making a profit of HK$800,000 at a time when the government was trying to cool real estate property prices in 2010.[27]

Litigation[edit]

In June 2012, the Hong Kong press reported that an indigenous inhabitant (原居民) of the indigenous village known as “San Tin Village (新田村)” in Yuen Long of the New Territories of Hong Kong by the name of Man Yuk Moon (文玉滿) had commenced civil proceedings (HCA 1012 / 2012) against Mr Lau Wong Fat at the High Court of Hong Kong, claiming HK$5,870,000. According to the local press, Mr. Lau Wong Fat refused to comment on the issue when asked. He merely stated that the litigation had been passed to his lawyers for their further handling. The current status of this lawsuit is unclear.[28][29]

Background and personal life[edit]

Lau's self-declared educational record is that he attended Ling Shan College (靈山中學) (possibly written 'Ling Saan High School') but the identity of this institution is not clear.[2][30]

He is married to LAU NG Mui-chu with five children including Kenneth Lau Ip-keung, who is also a member of Tuen Mun District Council.[30]

His business holdings are centred on his chairmanship of Wing Tung Yick (Holdings) Ltd.[1]

Other positions, awards and recognition[edit]

In 1977, a new school was named after him: Lau Wong-fat secondary school in Kowloon.[31][32]

Wong Chu Road, a major thoroughfare in Tuen Mun New Town linking Tuen Mun Road and the western part of the town, is named after him and his wife, Lau Ng Mui-chu. Tsing Shan Estate, the first public housing estate in Tuen Mun, was renamed San Fat Estate after him and Chan Yat-sen, another prominent figure in the Kuk.

He is an honorary court member of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.[21]

In 1983, he succeeded Tang Yuek Fan as chairman of the New Territories Heung Yee Kuk Yuen Long District Secondary School.

Since 2004 he has represented Hong Kong to perform the Lunar New year kau cim ceremony, succeeding Patrick Ho in the role.[33]

In 2005 he received the Grand Bauhinia Medal, Hong Kong's highest honour.[21]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b LAU Wong-fat – Legco biography
  2. ^ a b Legco.gov.hk. "Legco.gov.hk." 97–98 legco memo. Retrieved on 9 October 2010.
  3. ^ Big5.ifeng.com. ""疑洩露樓市新政 香港“新界王”被調查". ifeng.com Retrieved on 9 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d Bridge Builder, Christine Loh, Civic Exchange
  5. ^ a b Baumag.com.hk. ""劉皇發膺“新界地王". Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  6. ^ a b First change in decades for Tuen Mun, The Standard, 4 May 2011
  7. ^ Lau holds village seat with election victory, The Standard, 24 January 2011
  8. ^ Lau Wong-fat returns as DC chairman, The Standard, 5 January 2012
  9. ^ Heung Yee Kuk remains Lau's turf, The Standard, 2 June 2011
  10. ^ Rthk.org. "新任行會成員劉皇發履歷". Rthk.org Retrieved on 9 October 2010.
  11. ^ "Voting Results". Legislative Council of Hong Kong. 
  12. ^ "劉皇發申報所有土地物業". Takungpao.com. 27 December 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  13. ^ 立法會不設委員會查劉皇發
  14. ^ 劉皇發買樓漏申報 (in Chinese). The-sun.on.cc. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "劉皇發,你當香港人傻的嗎?". Martinoei.wordpress.com. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "全國政協副主席劉延東會見香港區議會主席訪京團". Big5.fmprc.gov.cn. 18 May 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  17. ^ "劉皇發:政改要得寸進尺". sina.com. 24 June 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  18. ^ 劉皇發盼盡快解決高鐵爭議
  19. ^ "立法會議員監察 《2006-2007年度監察報告》". Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "民間考勤 功組議員表現差". Hk.epochtimes.com. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  21. ^ a b c Info.gov.hk. "Info.gov.hk." Chief Executive appoints new members to Executive Council. Retrieved on 9 October 2010.
  22. ^ "Lau Wong-fat quits Liberal Party". Rthk.org.hk. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  23. ^ Lau Wong-fat admits failing to declare banned property deals, SCMP, Tanna Chong, 28 September 2010
  24. ^ Unfitting behaviour, SCMP, Albert Cheng, 2 October 2010
  25. ^ Lau Wong-fat's portfolio grows bigger by the day, SCMP
  26. ^ South China Morning Post. "SCMP." "Lau Wong-fat says property deals will be accounted for". Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  27. ^ a b c d e South China Morning Post. "SCMP." "Lau Wong-fat's portfolio grows bigger by the day." Retrieved on 9 October 2010.
  28. ^ "指劉皇發違諾 原居民追587萬". 明報. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  29. ^ "劉皇發被追587萬「反口費」". 東方. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  30. ^ a b Legco bio 1998–99
  31. ^ Lung Kong WFSL Lau Wong fat secondary school. "Lwfss.edu.hk." School intro. Retrieved on 9 October 2010.
  32. ^ Liberal Party Lau Wong Fat[dead link]
  33. ^ Sina.com. "港求得上籤今年繼續旺." Sina.com Retrieved on 9 October 2010.
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
New constituency Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Rural
1991–1997
Replaced by Provisional Legislative Council
New parliament Member of Provisional Legislative Council
1997–1998
Replaced by Legislative Council
Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Heung Yee Kuk
1998–2004
Succeeded by
Daniel Lam
Preceded by
Ip Kwok-him
Member of Legislative Council
Representative for District Council
2004–2008
Succeeded by
Ip Kwok-him
Preceded by
Daniel Lam
Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Heung Yee Kuk
2008–present
Incumbent
Assembly seats
Preceded by
Daniel Lam
Chairman of Regional Council
1995–1999
Council dissolved
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Leung Yiu-chung
Member of the Legislative Council
Hong Kong order of precedence
Member of the Legislative Council
Succeeded by
Emily Lau
Member of the Legislative Council