Gordon Liu

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Gordon Liu
Sin Kam-hei (冼錦熙)

(1951-08-22) August 22, 1951 (age 71)
Occupation(s)Actor, martial artist
Years active1973–2011
Ma Fei-feng
(m. 1991; div. 2009)
  • Angie Sin (daughter), with first wife
  • Bonnie Sin (daughter), with first wife
  • Kris Sin (son), with Ma Fei-feng
  • Sonia Sin (daughter), with Ma Fei-feng
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese劉家輝
Simplified Chinese刘家辉
Sin Kam-hei
Traditional Chinese冼錦熙
Simplified Chinese冼锦熙

Gordon Liu (Lau Kar-fai simplified Chinese: 刘家辉; traditional Chinese: 劉家輝; pinyin: Liú Jiāhuī; Wade–Giles: Liu Chia-hui; Jyutping: Lau4 Gaa1 fai1); born Sin Kam-hei (simplified Chinese: 冼锦熙; traditional Chinese: 冼錦熙; pinyin: Xiǎn Jǐnxī) August 22, 1951) is a Chinese martial arts film actor and martial artist. He played the lead role of San Te in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) and its sequels, and later played two roles in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films: Johnny Mo, the leader of the Crazy 88 Yakuza gang in Volume 1 (2003); and kung fu master Pai Mei in Volume 2 (2004).

Early life[edit]

Liu was born Sin Kam-hei in Guangdong Province, China on August 22, 1951, prior to his adoption into another family.[1] He is often wrongly cited as being the adopted son of Lau Cham, and adoptive brother of directors and actors Lau Kar-leung (Liu Chia-liang) and Lau Kar-wing (Liu Chia-Yung). He was not adopted by the family but is Lau Cham's godson.[2]

In his youth (ages 15–20), he skipped school to train in Chinese martial arts without his parents' knowledge. He trained at Lau Cham's martial arts school of Hung Gar discipline, which descended from Wong Fei-hung's grand student (father to Lau Kar Leung). Lau Cham's wife assisted in his training and due to the friendship and respect Liu felt for Lau and his wife, he took on the name Lau Ka-fai. As he grew up, he found a job as a shipping clerk to make ends meet. His interests had always been towards martial arts and he was eventually offered a role by Lau Kar-leung.


Liu's first break was with Chang's Film Company (a Shaw Brothers subsidiary operating in Taiwan) acting small parts for such films as 5 Shaolin Masters, Shaolin Martial Arts, and 4 Assassins. He starred in Challenge of the Masters (1976), as the folk hero Wong Fei Hung, and was featured in Executioners From Shaolin (1977) before starring in his signature role as Shaolin hero San Te in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.

The tale of the imperialistic struggle, while not a new one, was significant for the intense focus placed on the inner workings of Shaolin Temple itself. San Te, Liu's character, overcomes the temple's thirty-five chambers as he unwittingly undergoes the rigorous training regimen imposed by the temple's Head Abbott on the pretext of "earning" a right to study martial arts there.

The "zero-to-hero" tale turned Liu into an international icon in spite of a frame far slighter than that of the folk hero himself (known as "Iron Arms" for the muscularity of his physique) and paved the way for a very healthy working schedule into the mid-1990s, even as younger, more agile martial artists eventually emerged. By the late 1980s, he had begun accepting smaller roles, such as in Lau Kar-leung's Tiger on the Beat.

Liu has also been active in television, and was contracted to Hong Kong's TVB company for many years, continuing playing roles as a martial arts master. Though still performing some martial arts roles, he is at home as well in comedic, self-deprecatory or emotional characters. His second-most common role in TVB has been playing a Hong Kong Police Force officer[citation needed].

Quentin Tarantino had long been a fan of Liu, and hoped to find him a role in one of his movies. This eventually came to pass with the roles of Johnny Mo and Master Pai Mei in Tarantino's Kill Bill films. His roles in Kill Bill raised Liu's profile again and a renewed interest was shown by Chinese producers; since Kill Bill, Liu has returned to doing movies while continuing to do television for Hong Kong's TVB station.

In 2008, Liu added a Bollywood film to his profile. Collaborating with Indian actor Akshay Kumar who is a top-billed Bollywood actor and also a martial arts performer in a film titled Chandni Chowk To China (CC2C). He played the role of the villain, Hojo, a smuggler and a well-trained martial artist. Before this, he appeared as himself (along with his mentor Lau Kar Leung) in the 2009 film Dragonland, the first Italian documentary about martial cinema history, by Lorenzo De Luca. Liu attended as special guest star at the premiere in Rome, meeting his Italian fans for the first time. During August 2011, Liu had a stroke and put all his plans on hold to recover. Liu had cancelled all public engagements as of March 2012.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Liu has been married twice. He has two daughters, Angie and Bonnie, from his first marriage which ended in 1986, and a son Kris (冼峻龙) and daughter Sonia (冼咏珊) from his second marriage with Ma Fei-feng (马飞凤) of Thai-descent which ended in 2009.

In August 2011, while in To Kwa Wan performing with his band, Liu had a stroke and hit his head. He had partial right-sided paralysis and a speech impairment as a consequence of the stroke, needing a wheelchair to travel. At the same time, his estranged family from his second marriage had begun pressuring him for money. Depressed at his physical state and family complications, he isolated himself in a nursing home. In June 2012, Liu decided to divorce his second wife and focus on his recovery.[4]

During his medical crisis, Liu entrusted his assets to his assistant and spokesperson, Eva Fung. However, the two fell out, and Fung refused to return his assets.[5] Subsequently in 2013, he arranged for Hong Kong actress Amy Fan to become the legal guardian of his assets.[6] Liu later took legal action to recover his assets, and on April 29, 2014, a day before the court date, Fung agreed to return them with interest. In 2015, it was reported that he no longer spoke with a slur but continued to use a wheelchair, and that he had resided at a nursing home for several years.[7]



Year Title Role Notes
1973 Hero of the Waterfront Extra The Hero of Chiu Chow
1974 5 Shaolin Masters Chang Yung Cameo
Shaolin Martial Arts Ho Chen-kang
1975 The Four Assassins Aburiha / Abulahua Marco Polo
The Monk Foon Ying's Thug / Monk Brief Appearance
1976 Challenge of the Masters Wong Fei-hung
7-Man Army Mongolian Commander #2
Boxer Rebellion Boxer Bloody Avengers
1977 He Has Nothing But Kung Fu Shang Kai-Yuan (as Chia-Fai Liu) Stunt Coordinator
Executioners from Shaolin Tung Chien-chin (Tong Qianjin)
1978 Breakout from Oppression Hsiao Tu (Tsao Chan) Director, Action Coordinator
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin Liu Yu-de / Monk San Te
Heroes of the East Ah To
Shaolin Mantis Shaolin Fighting Monk (Guest Star) Brief Appearance
1979 Fury in the Shaolin Temple
Dirty Ho Wang Tsun Hsin (11'th Prince)
The Shadow Boxing Chang Chieh Spiritual Boxer Sequel
1980 Clan of the White Lotus Hong Wen-Ting
Return to the 36th Chamber Chao Jen-Cheh
Fists and Guts Ah-San / Shaolin Priest
Shaolin Warrior Fa Tien Producer
1981 My Young Auntie James
Shaolin and Wu Tang Director
The Shaolin Drunken Monk Lao Chung
Treasure Hunters Monk Mo Seung
Martial Club Wong Fei-hung
1982 Raiders of Shaolin Kung Fu Ga-wi Yu
Legendary Weapons of China Ti Tan (Guest Star)
Godfather of Canton Lin Si Hai
The 82 Tenants Ah Hui
Young Vagabond So Chan
Cat vs Rat Emperor Yung Hsi (Guest Star)
1983 Lady Is the Boss Lee Hon Man (Ah Man)
Shaolin and Wu Tang Hung Yung-Kit
Tales of a Eunuch Emperor Kang Hsi / Siu Yuen Tzu
1984 The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter Yang Wu-lang (Fifth Brother)
1985 Two Jolly Cops Lo Tak-Fai Producer
The Young Vagabond Beggar Su Chan
Disciples of the 36th Chamber Monk San Te
Crazy Shaolin Disciples Monk Wu Ching
USA Ninja Action Director
1986 The Story of Dr. Sun Yat Sen
1988 Legend of the Phoenix
Tiger on the Beat Fai, The Hitman
A Bloody Fight Inspector Lau Fai
Peackock King Kubira
Shaolin vs. Vampire Hyo Daiyu (as Ryu Chafi) Director
Let's Rage the Gangland
1989 A Fiery Family Wei
Fury of a Tiger Rambo / Sergeant Mang Action Choreographer
White Lotus Trio Avenging Trio
My Heart Is That Eternal Rose Lai Liu
Ghost Ballroom Chai
Killer Angels Michael
1990 Tiger on the Beat 2 Lau Fai
The Fortune Code Japanese Commander in Blue
1991 The Killer Inspector Wong
Crystal Hunt Officer Lung China Heat
The Banquet Brief Appearance
A Fate of Love
The Story of the Gun Officer Lau Fai Guns of the Master Killer
1992 Passionate Killing in the Dream Chit-Chit
Cheetah on Fire Mainland Gang Leader (as Ka Fai Lau)
Cry Killer Martial Art Director
1993 Flirting Scholar Evil Scholar
Last Hero in China Master Liu Heung (as Ka-fai Lau)
Legend of the Liquid Sword Shaolin Monk (Guest) (as Ka-fai Lau) Cameo
The Buddhism Palm Strikes Back For-wan Tse-san
The Mystery of the Condor Hero Yuen-tsan
Bogus Cops Hood
1994 The Kung Fu Scholar His Excellency
Drunken Master III Governor Lee (as Kar Fai Lau)
American Shaolin Abbot Hung Chi Treasure Hunt
If You Were Here Mr. Chiang Stunt Coordinator
Funny Shaolin Kids Two Shaolin Kids in Hong Kong
1995 Lethal Girls 2
1997 Super Cops Uncle Shing Action Coordinator
1998 Thunder Scout
1999 The Set Up
Heaven of Hope Coffin Leung
Generation Consultant Lieutenant Chow
Generation Pendragon
Gambler Series: Fraudelent Culture
2000 The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber Sing Kwan
The Legend of Lady Yang Chan Yuen-lai
The Island Tales Bo
2002 Drunken Monkey Detective Hung Yat Fu
2003 Star Runner Master Lau (Coach Lau)
Kill Bill: Volume 1 Johnny Mo
2004 Kill Bill: Volume 2 Johnny Mo / Pai Mei
Shaolin vs. Evil Dead Pak / Brother White
Dragon in Fury
Snake Curse Dr. Gao Er
2005 Dragon Squad Ko (Police Driver) Dragon Heat
A Chinese Tall Story Jade Emperor
Insuperable Kid Japanese Ambassador
Dragon Get Angry
2006 Katana-Man
Mr. 3 Minutes Triad Head (Mahjong Debt Collector)
Hung Kuen vs. Wing Chun Liu Chiaoxi
My Kung Fu Sweetheart
2007 Shaolin Vs. Dead: Ultimate Power Roam Chow
2008 Heroes of Shaolin
Anaconda Frightened Master Mao Dashi
2009 Chandni Chowk to China Hojo CC2C
Frankenstein Unlimited Segment Flesh for Kung Fu
2010 Lost in Love Banker
Citizen King Master Cheung
The Immemorial Magic
Hot Summer Days Uncle Fai
True Legend Old Sage
2011 Love in Space Mr. Chen
Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair Johnny Mo / Pai Mei
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate Eunuch Wan Yulou
2012 Nightfall Retired CID Officer Lung
The Man with the Iron Fists The Abbott
Painted Skin: The Resurrection Uncle Da
Blood Money Shaolin Monk
Kill 'em All Snakehead
No Retreat
2013 High Kickers Zhao Yumin
2014 Future Fighters


Year Title Chinese Title Role
1990 The Legend of the Invincible 劍魔獨孤求敗 Gong Zan-hung
1991 Mystery of the Twin Swords 日月神劍 Jin Pin-cin
1992 Mystery of the Twin Swords II 捉妖奇兵
1993 The Mystery of The Condor Hero 射鵰英雄傳之九陰真經 Jyun Zan
The Buddhism Palm Strikes Back 如來神掌再戰江湖 Ngou Cin-saan
1995 The Condor Heroes 95 神鵰俠侶 Kam-lun Fat-wong
Detective Investigation Files II 刑事偵緝檔案II Cing Gan
1996 Journey to the West 西遊記 Bull Demon King
1997 Bonds of Blood 千秋家国梦 Zhang Baozi / Chen Jiongming
Taming of the Princess 醉打金枝 Lei Gin (Sing Ping's 8th Royal Uncle)
1998 Journey to the West II 西遊記 Bull Demon King, Golden Horned King
1999 Witness to a Prosecution 洗冤錄 Nip Yan-lung
Hero of Shanghai 中華大丈夫 Hoi's Dad
Dragon Love 人龍傳說 Sea Dragon King
2000 The Legendary Four Aces 金裝四大才子
Legend of Lady Yang 楊貴妃 Chen Xuanli
2001 The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber 倚天劍屠龍刀 Cheng Kun / Yuan Zhen
A Step into the Past 尋秦記 Cho Chau-dou
2003 The King of Yesterday and Tomorrow 九五至尊 Heung Yeung
2005 Real Kung Fu 佛山贊師父 Lin Yung
The Gateau Affairs 情迷黑森林 Tong Sam
2006 A Pillow Case of Mystery 施公奇案 Sima Jui-fung
Lethal Weapons of Love and Passion 覆雨翻雲 Lai Yue-hoi
2007 Best Bet 迎妻接福 Tsang Dai-lik
On the First Beat 學警出更 Yuen Moon
The Ultimate Crime Fighter 通天幹探 Lai Chun Cheung
2008 The Four 少年四大名捕 Lam Po-Tian
2009 Man in Charge 幕後大老爺 Tai Yau-Kung
Chinese Paladin 3 仙劍奇俠傳三 Evil Sword Immortal
2010 A Pillow Case of Mystery II 施公奇案 II Si Ma Jeui-fung
Beauty Knows No Pain 女人最痛 Ng Lap-chau
Links to Temptation 誘情轉駁 Lam Chung-pau
2011 Relic of an Emissary 洪武三十二 Yim Chun
Curse of the Royal Harem 萬凰之王 Tunggiya Shumung


Year Title Role Note
1991 A Fate of Love Video
1992 Yesterday Once More Assassin Video
1994 Cinema of Vengeance Self Uncredited
1995 Top Fighter Self Video Documentary
2002 The Art of Action: Martial Arts in Motion Picture Self (Interviewee) Movie Documentary
2003 Cinema Hong Kong: Wu Xia Self Movie Documentary
Chop Socky: Cinema Hong Kong Self (as Ka Fai Lau) Movie Documentary
2008 Dragonland Self Italian Documentary
2010 Medallion of Kung Fu Self (Action Director) Short Video
2011 Tarantino, the Disciple of Hong-Kong Self French Documentary
2013 Wu Xia Pian Self French Documentary

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gordon Lau Ka-fai 劉家輝
  2. ^ "Gordon Liu Chia Hui". Interview. Kung Fu Magazine. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  3. ^ "Far East Films - News - Gordon Liu Suffers Stroke and Left Disabled". Archived from the original on February 2, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  4. ^ "Gordon Liu Enters Nursing Home And Suffers Estranged Marriage".
  5. ^ "Gordon Liu Takes Former Assistant To Court Over Financial Dispute".
  6. ^ "Gordon Liu Visits Old Friends at TVB".
  7. ^ "Gordon Liu Watches TVB's "Four Amigos Bon Voyage"".


External links[edit]