Li is a leading member of one of the most prominent families in business and
politics in Hong Kong, where family connections are crucial. Li's brother,
Arthur Li (李國章), is
Hong Kong's education secretary and a Cabinet official; their cousin, Andrew
Li (李國能), is the
chief justice of Hong Kong's highest court.
One of David Li's uncles, Ronald Li (李福兆),
was once the chairman of the Hong Kong Stock
Exchange. Another uncle, Simon Li (李福善), is
a former judge who also ran an unsuccessful campaign to be appointed Hong
Kong's chief executive in 1996.
The Li family has one of Hong Kong's most
aristocratic lineages. David Li's great-grandfather, Li Shek-tang (李石朋),
grew wealthy as a rice mill and shipping
magnate, bringing rice to Hong Kong from Vietnam. David Li's grandfather, Li
Koon-chun (李冠春), was
a founder of the Bank of East Asia in 1918, the first bank in Hong Kong not
owned by immigrants from Britain.
TIMES 13 May 2007
David Li is also on the HKSAR Land Fund Advisory Committee and the Mandatory
Provident Fund Schemes Authority. He is chairman of the Chinese Banks
Association, pro-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong and chairman
of the Hong Kong Management Association.
He is either a director
or non-executive director of the following listed companies: Cable
& Wireless HKT, Hong Kong and China Gas, China Merchants China
Direct Investments, China Overseas Land & Investment, COSCO
Pacific, FPB Bank Holding Company, San Miguel Brewery, Sime Derby, SCMP
Group, Vitasoy International and Henderson Cyber. -
2008 February 18 FINANCE
alleges libel by weekly
The affair between
legislator David Li and lawyer Peggy Liu
(left) has scandalised Hongkong
high society as Mr Li and his wife Poon Kam Choi (right) have always seemed
a loving couple. --
HONGKONG - The territory is abuzz with a
high-society scandal that allegedly involves at least three notable
A weekly magazine here recently carried a
report, complete with pictures, of married Hongkong legislator and banker
David Li's rendezvous in Paris with the daughter of another prominent
Mr Li, 63, chairman of Bank of East Asia,
was spotted behaving amorously with Ms Peggy Liu by East Weekly last month
in the French capital.
Ms Liu's father owns Hongkong's Liu Chong
In order not to arouse suspicion, the
couple had left Hongkong separately for Paris where they spent three days
together, reported East Weekly.
Ms Liu, 40, a partner at a Hongkong law
firm, flew to France on April 22, sent off at the airport by Mr Li. The
magazine noted that he kissed her twice before they parted.
He followed her two days later, with his
unsuspecting wife, Ms Poon Kam Choi, even seeing him off at the airport.
Reports said that Ms Liu, who was heard
calling Mr Li her 'baby' in Paris, spent their time there shopping and
watching striptease performances.
Their affair has scandalised Hongkong
high society because Mr Li and his wife, who have two sons, have always
seemed like a loving couple in their nearly 30 years of marriage.
His wife has an equally illustrious
background, being the sister of Hongkong luxury retailer Dickson Poon,
chairman of Dickson Concepts.
Mr Li and Ms Liu, who both sit on the
board of the University of Hongkong as well as the City University of
Hongkong, have also outraged educationists. - Singapore
Peggy Liu is suing Ming Pao Weekly for libel
after the glossy
magazine alleged she had ``loads of affairs'', including one with
Baroness Lydia Dunn's husband, Michael Thomas.
Liu, a solicitor, said in a writ
lodged in the Court of First Instance that the story had seriously
injured her reputation.
She is also seeking damages.
Details of the alleged tryst with
Thomas were included in last Saturday's article, which was a follow
up to a story about her relationship with Bank of East Asia chairman
David Li Kwok-po.
``There was a rumour that she had
an amorous relationship with the husband of Lydia Dunn - the amorous
girlfriend of Li Kwok-po has loads of love affairs,'' the story
said, according to the writ.
Liu, whose family owns the
majority shares of Liu Chong Hing Bank, took legal action after the
magazine refused to publish an apology.
The writ also said the story had
meant to convey the suggestion that she ``had a prior history of
having extra-marital and/or amorous affairs with married men''.
The cover story, which carried a
large photograph of Liu, had ``distressed and embarrassed'' her, the
The magazine had failed to take
reasonable steps to verify the truth of the article before
publishing, it said.
A similar story was published in
the magazine's sister newspaper, Ming Pao, the following day.
Liu is seeking a court injunction
to restrain the publisher from issuing similar ``defamatory words''
Ming Pao Weekly published the
report after another Chinese magazine reported a story about Liu
dating banker Li in Paris on May 1.
- by Julie Chu iMail.com
11 May 2002
BEA chief retains tight grip at helm
Board approves extension of Li's term,
suggesting he will hold reins long enough for his son to take over top job
David Li has a network of extended
Bank of East Asia chairman and chief executive
David Li Kwok-po, 64, has won board approval to extend his term at the helm
of Hong Kong's fifth-largest lender for up to five years.
Analysts said the renewal of Mr Li's contract
underlined the hold he retained over the family-controlled bank and could
pave the way for his son to assume the top job in 2009.
Since turning 60, Mr Li has retained his post at
the discretion of the board. His son, Adrian Li Man-kiu, was appointed
general manager and head of corporate banking in 2001, and is regarded by
analysts as an heir-apparent for the job.
"The extension of Mr Li's term will buy time
for his son to take over when he finally leaves," an analyst said.
"It's hard to say what other implications may follow from the move -
though arguably someone else might have had a more relaxed attitude towards
a merger approach."
Bank of East Asia did not return requests for
Mr Li has disclosed an interest of just 1.25 per
cent in Bank of East Asia, but analysts believe his network of extended
family ties enables him to call on the support of more than 20 per cent of
shareholder votes. The biggest Li family shareholding in the bank (3.19 per
cent) was disclosed in the latest annual report as being held by Simon Li
Fook-sean, a former vice-president of the Court of Appeal and Mr Li's great
uncle. Other relatives with sizeable holdings include Li Fook-wo, with 2.19
per cent, and Aubrey Li Kwok-sing, who holds 2.11 per cent.
The latest news will end speculation that Mr Li
was due to retire after 23 years as chief executive of the bank, and seven
as its chairman. In January last year, Mr Li fuelled that speculation when
he told the South China Morning Post that a search was under way for
an internally appointed successor.
In addition to being a legislator and member of
Legco's Financial Services Panel, he sits on the boards of 15 listed firms
in Hong Kong including SCMP Group, publisher of the South China Morning
Post, and two statutory bodies, Hong Kong Interbank Clearing and the
Hong Kong Mortgage Corp.
An often outspoken critic of the government, Mr Li
last year voiced banking sector concerns over the proposed Article 23
national security law and previously was a dissenting finance establishment
voice calling for the pegged exchange rate to be scrapped.
Mr Li is also chairman of the Chinese Banks
Association and the Hong Kong Management Association, a member of the
Banking Advisory Committee, the Exchange Fund Advisory Committee, a director
of the Mandatory Provident Fund and pro-chancellor of the University of Hong
Market talk has also focused on changes due at the
Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp and its 62 per cent-controlled subsidiary
Hang Seng Bank.
At 58, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking chairman
David Eldon is due for retirement, and the betting in the marketplace is
that Hang Seng Bank chief executive and vice-chairman Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen
will replace Mr Eldon, while Hongkong and Shanghai Banking general manager
Raymond Or Ching-fai will take over at the helm of Hang Seng Bank.
An HSBC spokesman declined to comment last night.
- 21 June 2004 SOUTH
CHINA MORNING POST
Trading scandal puts HK family in
One of Hong Kong's most powerful financiers, banker David Li, has been
linked to an alleged insider trading probe surrounding a five billion dollar
bid for financial news agency Dow Jones, a report said Wednesday.
Li, the chairman and chief executive of Bank of East Asia, Hong Kong's
largest local bank, also sits on Dow Jones' board of directors, a key link
which US investigators are understood to be now probing.
Li is expected to be questioned soon by American regulators, the online
edition of the Wall Street Journal newspaper said.
The financier, a close personal friend of Hong
Kong political leader Donald Tsang, denied giving information to a Hong Kong
couple accused of buying a huge block of Dow Jones stock just before its
share price rocketed on news that tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corp had
launched a takeover bid for the company.
"I did not disclose to anyone, not even my
wife, any information about Dow Jones," Li told WSJ.com, which is owned
by Dow Jones.
The Hong Kong couple, Kan King Wong and Charlotte
Ka On Wong Leung, were named in a civil lawsuit by the US Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) as having pocketed more than eight million dollars
after buying Dow Jones stock.
They were said to have borrowed 15 million dollars
to buy 415,000 Dow Jones shares just before Murdoch's bid sent the stock
Their bank accounts have since been frozen pending
The WSJ.com report said Li is closely linked to
businessman Michael Leung, Charlotte's father, who was named by the SEC as
having transferred a large sum of money to his daughter's bank account to
help finance the share purchase.
Neither Li nor Leung are named in the SEC suit.
Murdoch offered 60-dollars a share for Dow Jones
last month, a huge premium on its trading price at the time of 36 dollars,
in a potential media industry shake up that could also see rival Reuters
Bank of East Asia officials were not immediately
available to comment on the report.
family at the center of an insider trading case involving shares of
publisher Dow Jones & Co. Inc. was rich, but not famous -- until this
A husband and wife -- Kan King Wong and
Charlotte Ka On Wong Leung -- were accused by U.S. regulators on Tuesday of
"widespread and unlawful trading activity" in Dow Jones shares
ahead of News Corp.'s $5 billion takeover bid that resulted in a potential
gain of $8.1 million.
To help finance the trading, $3.1 million
was transferred from the wife's father, businessman Michael Leung Kai Hung,
into an account held by the couple at Merrill Lynch , the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission's complaint said.
Michael Leung, who was not named as a
defendant in the civil complaint filed by the SEC, is the founder of a
garment manufacturer and started a Hong Kong mobile phone company that was
sold last year to giant China Mobile .
Leung declined to comment Wednesday.
"I will not comment for now because
the case is being handled by lawyers," he told a local radio station.
His daughter and her husband could not be
reached for comment on Wednesday, and reporters visiting the couple's luxury
apartment building in Hong Kong's Mid-Levels neighborhood were asked by
security guards to leave.
Like many Hong Kong businessmen of his
generation, Leung built his fortune himself. And as is often the case in
Asia, he conducted business with family members.
The cellphone company that Leung founded
employed his daughter Charlotte Wong as a vice president until she left in
March. Her husband is a consultant to the firm, according to Josephine Tong,
a spokeswoman for China Mobile Peoples Telephone.
Leung's age is given as 64 in the 2006
annual report of Raymond Industrial Ltd., a Hong Kong manufacturer on whose
board he serves.
Leung holds a degree in social work and
spent more than a year as a probation officer before starting a garment
business, according to a biography written when he was awarded an honorary
fellowship at Lingnan University.
He branched out into the telecoms
business in the mid-1980s, and continues to run his Onwel Group of
companies, where he is executive chairman, and serves on boards of
educational and other organizations.
As of May 2005, Leung owned about 18
percent of China Resources Peoples Telephone Co. Ltd., which China Mobile
agreed to buy in October 2005 in a deal that valued the small Hong Kong
carrier at about $434 million and would have made Leung's stake worth $78
Leung, who sold all his shares when China
Mobile took over the firm, resigned his post as executive vice chairman of
what is now known as China Mobile Peoples Telephone at the end of January
2007, the company spokeswoman said.
The SEC complaint does not say how the
couple may have come into possession of any inside knowledge. A source
familiar with the situation said the irregular trading pattern was spotted
by Merrill Lynch and reported to the SEC.
In court documents, the SEC said it had
"strong circumstantial evidence" that improper trading had
occurred, saying the Dow Jones stock purchases had increased the value of
the defendants' Merrill Lynch portfolio by about 25 times.
The couple had no history of trading Dow
Jones stock in the account previously, the SEC said.
The Wall Street Journal, which is owned
by Dow Jones, reported on Wednesday that one possible connection the SEC was
expected to pursue involved Dow Jones director David Li, chairman and chief
executive of the Bank of East Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong.
Li and Leung share a history of business
and social dealings, the newspaper reported.
Li's office declined to comment when
contacted by Reuters and a Dow Jones representative was not immediately
Li was quoted in the Journal as saying,
"I did not disclose to anyone, not even my wife, any information about
The Journal reported that Li said he did
not recall exactly when he learned about the takeover offer but believed it
was during a telephonic board meeting prior to the Dow Jones annual meeting
on April 18. "I cannot remember when it was because there were so many
conversations," he told the newspaper.
In its complaint against the Hong Kong
couple, the SEC said the pair spent more than a week transferring in
millions of dollars from Michael Leung, a bank in Brussels and two margin
loans to their brokerage account to buy the shares in the two weeks before
the bid was publicly announced.
Shares of Dow Jones closed at $36.33 the
day before the $60-a-share takeover offer for the company became public.
After the bid was announced on May 1, the stock jumped above $55. - Reuters
2007 May 9