Hong Kong's Top 10... HK Scandals

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Opium

Arguably the first – and most destructive – Hong Kong scandal of them all. It’s the 1820s and China is trading with the Brits. Blame, in part, William Jardine and James Matheson for this scandal. They’re responsible for a quarter of the trade and, over several years, more than a million Chinese men become drug addicts. But the Chinese government isn’t happy and, in 1839, it seizes more than 20,000 chests of the drug. Cue wars, discontent and the British colonisation of our city. The opium of the masses indeed…

2 Edison Chen: ‘those pics’

Now wind the clock on to 2008. Nowhere near as devastating as our first ever scandal – but this one nevertheless catches the attention of the world media. Edison Chen’s NSFW photo scandal sees X-rated pictures of the actor in lewd poses with actresses like Gillian Chung and Bobo Chan being leaked to the press. The pictures were stolen from Chen and published illegally, sparking enough copyright and free speech controversy to get Interpol involved. 

3 Carina Lau: ‘those pics’

While filming 1990 movie Days of Being Wild, Lau is allegedly abducted and photos are taken of her topless but she later refuses to talk about the subject. So, fast forward 12 years to East Week magazine’s October 30, 2002, issue, when the supposed photos are published. Chaos ensues. The magazine is shut down for a year and the editor receives a five-month jail sentence. The real kicker, though: Lau later confesses to the images actually
being of her!

4 Dead scandalous

In 1998, after a woman pushes her two children out of a high rise window and then jumps to her death as well, Apple Daily publishes photos of her husband posing in bed with two prostitutes at the same time as his wife’s funeral. It’s later disclosed that the tabloid ‘indirectly’ paid the husband $5,000 for his photographic efforts. Jimmy Lai, Apple Daily founder, issues an apology, perhaps remembered as the understatement of the decade.

5 Henry Tang’s basement

During last year’s Chief Executive election, candidate-elect Henry Tang is accused of housing an illegal building structure in his Kowloon Tong residence. He tries everything to justify his mysterious ‘basement’ but every time he comes out with something, the scandal just gets bigger and bigger. CY probably didn’t mind, though...

6 Nina Wang’s wills

When the name ‘Little Sweetie’ comes up, so does the word ‘scandal’. Wang’s husband disappears in the 90s, leaving a suspiciously signed will, which leaves Sweetie his estate and puts her at the helm of the Chinachem firm. She’s charged with forgery but is later cleared and, when she dies, she’s richer than Oprah. But her will also comes under scrutiny and a ‘secret lover’ is mysteriously named the beneficiary. Cue another forgery case, which is ongoing...

7 Scandal Point

Okay, well not a media scandal exactly – but a famous city ‘scandal’ nevertheless. A spot in Admiralty, at the southwest corner of today’s Queensway Government Offices, was nicknamed Scandal Point in the 1880s after a similar place in Simla, India, where ladies would congregate and gossip. 

8 Jackie Chan’s ‘lovechild’

On November 19, 1999 – the same year Jackie Chan’s child Jaycee is born – former Miss Asia, Elaine Ng, gives birth to Etta Ng Chok-lam and discloses her affair with the star.
Ng tells the media that she is to take care of her daughter alone. Last year, newspaper reports state that Chan’s will leaves nothing to Etta. Or Jaycee, for that matter.

9 TVB corruption scandal

Stephen Chan and several TVB staff are arrested in 2010 under suspicion of illegally outsourcing cheap labour under Chan’s shell company at a low cost and pocketing the difference – about $10m. It’s later alleged that Chan has been working actors at functions with little pay. In the end, though, he is acquitted.

10 The Kwok brothers

The highest profile corruption case in Hong Kong has been rumbling on this year. Billionaire brothers Thomas and Raymond Kwok allegedly bribed former Chief Secretary Rafael Hui in return for certain ‘favours’ – but the Kwoks and Hui deny this. May 8, next year: the trial. There could be plenty of twists yet… Ying Lo

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