8th August 2013
Training Camp for Pro-China “50-cent Party” Locates at Bank of China – Funded by HKSAR Government
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“This woman is not fit to be teacher for sure, not even qualified to be a mother”, “She’s a monster teacher, don’t deserve to be a teacher”. These are comments flying around on the internet after Ms Alpais Lam Wai-sze shouted “what the fuck” at the police for their uneven handed handling of Hong Kong Youth Care Association’s infringement of Falun Gong followers’ freedom of expression. 50-cent party began waves of attack against Ms Lam online and the so-called “loving and caring” groups*very quickly organised a cultural-revolution like struggle session to condemn Ms Lam on 4th August.
On the surface, the gathering in Mong Kok on 4th August was organised by Leticia Lee See-yin, chairwoman of Hong Kong Parents’ Association. However, the people behind the scene to mobilise participants are Patrick Ko Tat-bun and Chan Kwong-man from Voice of Loving Hong Kong (VLHK).
A few days prior to the event, Chan Kwong-man called his followers on Facebook to participate the event and repeatedly publish videos and photos about conflicts between police and civilians with an aim to encourage people to stand on the police’s side.
During the event, the people on stage were mainly the key figures at VLHK, and Chan Kwong-man was also on-site to assist. An individual attended the event ‘supporting’ the police said, “Someone from VLHK asked me to join that’s why I’m here. I don’t know who Leticia Lee is.”
Slim and ordinary looking, Chan Kwong-man is almost unnoticeable on the street. He always wear a cap and sunglasses at protests, which seems like he’s trying to conceal his identity.
According to two informers who know Chan Kwong-man years ago said that “Chan Kwong-man” is only a pseudonym for public appearances, and his real name is Po Chun-chung. One of the informers said that Po Chun-chung has been a frequent visitor of the government funded One Country Two System Research Institute (the Institute) located on the 61th floor of Bank of China Tower since 2008. He also participated in training sessions to train up “online commentators” and teach them how to create public opinion.
After actively participated the cultural-revolution like struggle session on 4th August, at which around 3,000 people gathered including citizens who support Ms Lam and those who condemn her behaviour, Chan Kwong-man (Fu Chun-chung) continued to post online to support Lau Tat-keung, a police superintendent, who is on his pre-retirement leave, for participating the event and condemning “foul mouth culture”.
Chan Kwong-man used Facebook as the main tool for organising supporters to events. Since 2011, he’s accumulated over 500 fans. His most famous action happened on 7th April: he attended the first discussion forum organised by Alliance for True Democracy with members from VLHK, and eventually caused the forum to be cut. Before Chan left the forum, he shouted “OK! Job done! Off duty time!”
He has been calling himself Chan Kwong-man when leading the “loving and caring groups” at all the anti-Occupy Central events. He heard rumours on 29th July that the media are trying to find out his background, he announced on his Facebook that “Let me give you all a surprise! I’m going to use by real name Po Chun-chung from now on, and my real name will replace my ‘Facebook name’ Chan Kwong-man. Call me Chun-chung!”
The property Po Chun-chung lives at is jointly owned by himself, and his brother Danny Po Chun-wong. Danny Po Chun-wong has some substantial background: he was a council member of the Shandong Overseas Friendship Association directly under the CPC Shandong Province Committee, a position Barry Cheung Chun-yuen also held.
A former 50-cent party member of the Institute, alias Ah Ho who is around 30 years old, said that Po Chun-chung often goes to the Institute and is a leader of the online commentator team. Ah Ho also recognised Danny Po Chun-wong and said that he also goes to the Institute. Although he does not know Danny Po Chun-wong by name, he remembers that Danny Po Chun-wong speaks fluent Mandarin.
In 2008, Ah Ho was referred by a friend to work as a public opinion surveyor at the Institute. “One must be referred to join the Institute. Their vacancies are never advertised.” Work hours at the institute is between 9am and 5pm. “After half a year, the Institute think I have been doing quite well and suggested me to join the ‘online commentator’ team.”
Their official job title is “telephone and internet surveyor”. All of them have to participate a two-week training course, to learn how to argue with netizens who object or criticise the government. “I have seen Cheung Chi-kong, Barry Cheung Chun-yuen and CY Leung at the Institute. On day, CY Leung went into the training room before our lesson began and said hello and welcomed us to join the team.” There were six to seven of us at each course, and Po Chun-chung was in charge of explaining the payment system. “He only referred to himself as Mr Chan then. All trainees have to surrender their personal belongings including mobile phone before entering the classroom every time, to prevent us from recording at the class. Handouts would also be collected after each lesson to prevent any information leak.”
The online commentators in Hong Kong get paid more than the 50-cent party in China. US$0.32 (HK$2.5) will be paid for each online post (as opposed US$0.08 or RMB0.5, hence the name 50-cent party). If anyone “like” or reply to a commentator’s post, the commentator will receive extra money. After two weeks of training, Ah Ho and the other commentators were sent to work from home. Each commentator will record their own posting records, and report back to their team leaders. The team leaders will conduct random check on these posts and are in charge of payment. The key battle fields are Facebook, and the most popular online forums, namely Hong Kong Golden Forum, UWants, Discuss.com.hk and BabyKingdom. Ah Ho said that the key assignments then were to support high speed rail project and the 2011 political reform. “Besides the team leader Chan Kwong-man, I also saw Stanley Lui Chi-wai, convener of Hong Kong Youth Development Network (a pro-Peking group).” According to Ah Ho, the lazy commentators can make at least US$773 a month, the hard-working ones can easily make over US$1,300 a month.
Ah Ho witnessed Po Chun-chung’s transformation from a team leader at the Institute to the action team leader of VLHK started when the HKSAR government launched the 2010 political reform propaganda, and branded the campaign “Act Now”. Donald Tsang, the then Chief Executive, and his cabinet threw numbers of promotions at different occasions. The government event organised a “support 2010 political reform carnival” when the Legislative Council was debating on the proposed reform. A large number of supporters were required for the carnival, and Ah Ho and other members of the Institute were called to participate and were asked to hire extras to join. “The extras were paid at a movie filming rate: US$65 for nine hours of work. That’s why they would never stay for extra hours and would leave as soon as the contract time ends.” Some of these extras become the core “supporters” and the key faces at these “loving and caring groups”. Ah Ho recognised a number of the people in a picture featuring some few active VLHK members, and said that they have appeared at the Institute. After the “Act Now” campaign was over, Ah Ho decided that he no longer wants to be a 50-cent party member, and left the Institute.
The One Country Two System Economic Research Institute was founded in November 1990. It was the first public research institute in Hong Kong, and an extension of the Basic Law Drafting Committee. The Institute was set up by Mr Ann Tse-kai, deputy chairman of the Basic Law Drafting Committee, Mr Wong Po-yan (also member of the Drafting Committee), CY Leung (was then the Secretary General of the Basic Law Consultative Committee) and David Li Kwok-po, legislator of the Finance Functional Constituency (elected unopposed in 2004 and 2008). All of them were directors of the Institution then. Between 1995 and 1998, Shao YouBao, Zhang YongZhen and Edgar Cheng Wai-kin also joint the Institute. The Institute took out the word “economic” in 1997 and become the current One Country Two System Research Institute.
Ann Tse-kai died in June 2000. Besides CY Leung, all of the founding directors have left the Institute. Since then Leung has been the only leader of the Institute and recruited two of his henchmen: Chang Hsin-kang, who was the President of City University and a close friend of Tung Chee-hwa (first Chief Executive in Hong Kong), and Ronnie Chan Chi-chung. Ronnie Chan has always been upfront about his hatred over property developer hegemony, and united with CY Leung after the HKSAR government granted the lease of Cyber Port land, which worth billions of dollar, to Pacific Century CyberWorks Limited without consultation nor bidding process. Ronnie Chan joint the Institute in 2000 to establish an even closer relationship with CY Leung. CY Leung did not resign his directorship from the Institute until he won the Chief Executive (small circle) election in 2012.
Ronnie Chan, Chairman of Hang Lung Properties, and current director of the Institute, has recently openly criticise political oppositions: he criticised John Tsang Chun-wah, Financial Secretary, for spending money recklessly; and called Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, former Chief Executive, a political trickster and questioned if democracy is one of Hong Kong’s core values, “whoever calls democracy is one of Hong Kong’s core value is lying through their teeth.”
Shao ShanBo has been the president of the Institute since 1990, and passed his role to Cheung Chi-kong in 2005 and left Hong Kong to study in the US. Shao joint the Central Policy Unit in 2007. The Institute has always been led by pro-communist and pro-China individuals ever since it was established. Shao ShanBo said in a TVB programme that the HKSAR government should no long allow the public to slash on them. As a brainpower to the government, Shao said, one should monitor all online and print media, blogs, Facebook and online discussion forums closely. “I think that the government must engage in the public’s discussion… if the government cannot encourage opinions and push forward (policies), the government is just allowing the public to bully it!”
According to Companies Registry, the Institute’s financials showed that its expenses on staff salary went up from just below US$520,000 in 2007 to over US$780,000 in the past few years. The significant surge in salary expenses happened when Ah Ho and others joint the Institute as online commentators. What research projects has the Institute done for the government and how much did the Institute charge the government? No response was given so far by the Institute, Central Policy Unit, Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, Development Bureau and Chief Executive’s Office. Based on the Legislative Council’s documents, the Institute did a research together with the Central Policy Unit in 2003 and charged the government US$170,000 consultation fee. The Central Policy Unit also paid the Institute US$270,000 to conduct researches between 2009 and 2013. One of these researches was called “research on public affairs reported by the media”. When CY Leung was running for office, he also paid the Institute US$39,000 to conduct a public opinion survey.
Po Chun-chung, also known as Chan Kwong-man (a pseudonym he’s been using for a long time), claimed to be around 40 years old and is an office clerk. After multiple days of observation since May, he was never seen to be going to work, and it is obvious that he stays home a lot and very active on Facebook as he updates his status very often and call on the “loving and caring groups” to participate activities.
Ah Wan (alias) who has been in contact with Po Chun-chung said, “I am 100% sure that Chan Kwong-man’s real name is Po Chun-chung. In April, I attended an Occupy Central open forum hosted by Horace Chin Wan and Benny Tai Yiu-ting, and I saw him there protesting. His face has not changed a bit, and I recognised his voice too!” Ah Wan met Po Chun-chung around twenty years ago, “It was in 1990 or 1991. I attended a youth training camp organised by Hong Kong Christian Service in North Point, around a dozen of youngsters attended that training camp to learn skills about field training and camping. After finishing the training camp, we would volunteer to bring children for camping or hiking.”
Ah Wan remembered that the training lasted for a whole summer break, and sometimes they had to go to the Service centre in the evening for classes, during weekends they would go to Wu Kau Tang for activities, “I was a university student then, and Po was a few years older than me.” The boys who attended the training camp were all into hiking, and would always talk about hiking and camping equipment. Fu, however, rarely participated in any of those discussions, hence others do not know much about him besides the fact that he lives in North Point. After the training camp, the volunteers organised a few camping activities, and Ah Wan last saw Po Chun-chung in 1993. “He was trying to sell insurance policies to everyone then, but I cannot recall which company he worked for.”
“When I saw him again this April, I felt a bit strange in terms of who he’s become. He used to be a man with few words. I also wondered why he has changed his name to ‘Chan Kwong-man’ and behaved completely differently.”
Po Chun-chung lives in flat approximately 600 sq. ft. in North Point. The building is 30 plus years old. The estimated market price of his flat is US$774,000. The flat was purchased by Po Chun-chung’s father, Po Chiu-kam, who died last year, in the 80s. The ownership of the flat was then transferred to Danny Po Chun-wong, Po Bik-ha and Po Chun-chung – the three children of Po Chiu-kam. This may explain why Po Chun-chung does not seem to have any need to worry about paying rent.
On 5th August when questioned about his pseudonym “Chan Kwong-man”, he said “many people use pseudonyms online, someone wanted to reveal my real name so I decided to tell the world myself.” When asked who revealed his real name, Po refused to answer. In response to the question about him being employed by the Institute as a team leader of the online commentator team, he hesitated and denied, then immediately joked as if he’s trying to hide something, “I wished! No one is paying me!”
Danny Po Chun-wong, Po Chun-chung’s older brother, is an accountant and was the chairman of the student union of Hong Kong Polytechnic in 1985. After he was elected, Danny Po immediately added the theme “to prosper Greater China” into the student union’s guiding principles – the names Chun-chung and Chun-wong are named by their fathers because of this ideology. Graduated in 1987, Danny Po joint PriceWaterHouseCooper and was promoted to senior manager of the firm’s China taxation department in the 90s. In 2002, he was promoted as a partner of the firm and focuses on China taxation. 2007, he was transferred to the firm’s China M&A and Restructuring Taxation department and heads up the department. He left PWC and joint Deloitte last year, and is the Asia Pacific and China head of the firm’s Corporate M&A and Restructuring Taxation. He owns an apartment on Pok Fu Lam Road in the Mid-Levels with his wife, and owns two other apartments with his younger brother and sister in Queen’s Road West and North Point. He is currently living in a flat he rents in the Mid-Levels.
There have long been rumours suggesting that Cheung Chi-kong, president of One Country Two System Research Institute, he is displeased with Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) for supporting the HKSAR government with methods that are too clean. Someone, therefore, assisted the establishment of various “loving and caring groups” to support the government, some of these groups involved individuals who are from China’s United Front Work Department. VLHK’s founder, Patrick Ko Tat-bun, for example, is a council member of Shenzhen Overseas Friendship Association, which is directly under Shenzhen’s United Front Work Department. Danny Po Chun-wong is the Shandong Overseas Friendship Association’s council member, which is also under the province’s United Front Work Department. Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, former Executive Council member and CY Leung’s right hand man who’s involved in financial scandals, is also a council member at Shandong Overseas Friendship Association. The president of the Association is Yan ShiYuan, Standing Committee Member and Head of United Front Department of CPC Shandong Provincial Committee.
When asked about if the Institute was behind the establishment of the “loving and caring groups”, Cheung Chi-kong only said “absolutely no relations (between them)” before jumping into his car on 6th August. When Cheung was asked over the phone about the details of the number of staff at the Institute and how many projects has it done for the HKSAR government, Cheung said “there are all sizes of projects, but I will not tell you anything about our internal matters. (But the Institute gets paid by the government, shouldn’t such information be disclosed?) You should ask the government instead.” When he was asked his and the Institute’s relationship with the Po brothers, he immediately said “(I) don’t know them!”
Both Po Chun-chung and Danny Po Chun-wong are Christians. Danny Po is also the director of The Association of Christian Accountants (the Association). This opens up the door to a network of Christians in the political and commercial area. Based on the Association’s website, in May 2008 Rong YongQi, a CPPCC member, led an exchange tour for the Association. Besides Danny Po, David Sun Tak-kei, a CY Leung supporter, former senior management of Ernst & Young and current Director of Audit, and Paul Chan Mo-po, Secretary for Development, also joint the tour. The tour was greeted by director and deputy director from the State Administration for Religious Affairs of PRC.
After the “united front” tour, these pro-communist Christians began to establish the Association of Christian Accountants in order to consolidate the commercial power who support CY Leung. William Lo Chi-chung, Executive Director, Finance, at the Airport Authority, became the Association’s Chairman, and Dilys Chau Suet-fung from the Education Commission is the vice chairwoman. Consultants of the Association include: Paul Chan Mo-po, Rong YongQi and David Sun Tak-kei. The motto of the Association is what Paul Chan Mo-po quoted from the Bible before at an enquiry at the Legislative Council about his scandal “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy” (Micah 6:8). Sophia Kao Ching-chi from the Central Policy Unit and Executive Council member Starry Lee Wai-king from DAB, both big CY Leung supporters, have attended a number of large scale activities organised by the Association in the past three years.
Danny Po Chun-wong is also a member of Hong Kong Professionals and Senior Executives Association (HKPSEA). Ronnie Chan Chi-chung, the Chairman and financial sponsor of the Institute, and Paul Chan Mo-po are amongst the honourable consultants of HKPSEA. Danny Po Chun-wong is also a member of The Society of Chinese Accountants and Auditors and The General Chamber of Commerce.
When asekd about his relationship with his brother, Po Chun-chung tried not to answer the question directly, “I have many siblings who support me.” Not until the journalist named his brother’s full name, Po Chun-chung finally said, “You’ve finally found out? I did say to my brother that we should keep doing our own things and that’s why I used my pseudonym ‘Chan Kwong-man’.”
When asked about “Chan Kwong-man”, Danny Po Chun-wong was at first shocked and then said, “I don’t know who Chan Kwong-man is.” When the journalist told him that his brother Po Chun-chung already admitted he used “Chan Kwong-man” as his pseudonym and that he is his brother, Danny Po said, “my younger brother is Po Chun-chung, but I don’t know who Chan Kwong-man is.” He then tried to cover his face with an envelope and questioned the journalist, “You know who I am? Do you want to have an interview with me? I’ll go over there for you to ask questions.”
As he walked over to Pacific Place I for the interview, “I don’t know anything about VLHK and Chan Kwong-man, but I have read about their names on the newspapers.” When told once again that Chan Kwong-man admitted that his real name is Po Chun-chung and that Danny Po is his older brother, Danny Po said “Po Chun-chung is my younger brother, and of course I know him. However, I don’t know Chan Kwong-man and I’m not a member of any organisations.” When asked if he referred Po Chun-chung to work at the Institue, he hesitated first and then denied. When asked about his relationship with the One Country Two Systems Research Institute and Cheung Chi-kong, Danny Po said, “I don’t know the Institue nor Cheung Chi-kong, I have only read about their names on the newspapers.”
When asked about his role at the Shandong United Front Work Department, he said “I am not from Shandong. My family originally came from Fujian Xiamen. Both of my younger brother and sister and I were born in Hong Kong.” He also refused to talk about his father’s occupation.
When learnt about the relationship between Chan Kwong-man/Po Chun-chung and the One Country Two Systems Research Institute, Professor Chan Kin-man, one of the conveners of Occupy Central, was very surprised and urged the government and the Institute to investigate, ”Is Chan Kwong-man’s work related to the Institute’s research and plans? Does that involve public funding?”
Alan Leong Ka-kit, Civic Party Leader, said, “(If this is the case) certainly is an abuse of public funding. If the HKSAR government did this (funding the Institute that is sponsoring political groups), the government is the originator of the conflicts in the society. If saying the four-letter word can split up the society, this can be catastrophic.”
* A number of pro-China, pro-communist and pro-HKSAR government groups were established in the past year. Although some of them are represented by local Hong Kong faces, many of the “volunteers” from these groups have non-Hong Kong accent and have repeatedly been filmed for committing violent acts. These groups all seem to call themselves “loving and caring” despite the fact that they have verbally and physical threatened civilians. Three of the most high profile groups are Hong Kong Youth Care Association Limited, Voice of Loving Hong Kong, and Caring Hong Kong Power.