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Tourism official embroiled in K-pop tender saga

Tourism official embroiled in K-pop tender saga

A senior official of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is facing questions over the hiring of Korean pop stars for the recent E-sports and Music Festival organized by HKTB, Apple Daily reports.

HKEsports founder Derek Chung took out a full-page on the front page of Ming Pao Daily on Wednesday, challenging the fairness of hiring Korean pop stars by Media Asia Group Holdings Ltd., which is owned by HKTB director Peter Lam.

The government allocated HK$35 million of sponsorship for the event.

HKTB had sought to clarify that the group that won the bid has no vested interests in Lam’s company.

However, Apple Daily reported that Lam is affiliated with the winning bidder, 168 Production.

Lam has denied any wrongdoing.

Apple Daily reporters revealed that 168 Production is closely linked to SM Entertainment company in Korea and is its main partner in Hong Kong.

Lam owns a 77.78 percent stake in Media Asia, which is SM Entertainment’s go-to partner in Hong Kong, according to the report.

Most of the events held by SM Entertainment in Hong Kong have been organized by either Media Asia or SM Entertainment’s subsidiary, Dream Maker.

According to a notice in September 2014, Media Asia declared that it would proxy all SM Entertainment stars who had signed a contract in a memorandum of cooperation. This included being the proxy of three SM Entertainment celebrities — Zhang Liyin, F(x), and EXO.

Records also showed that Media Asia is the Korean group Super Junior’s proxy in Hong Kong.

At the recent SMTOWN Special Stage in Hong Kong concert, Super Junior members Lee Dong-hae, Lee Hyuk-jae, and Kim Jong-hoon were among the invited performers, along with F(x) and boys group EXO.

Lam’s lawyers issued a statement that Media Asia is not the proxy for SMTOWN’s performers F(x) and EXO. It did not say if the memorandum of cooperation is still valid.

According to the report, 168 Production had only previously had a short experience in holding concerts and had not been involved in any large events in the past.

Apple Daily said the 168 website is linked to a company called AHM Engineering Co. Ltd. with which it s an office address at the Kowloon International Trade and Exhibition Centre.

It was also found that 168 Production’s only board member is Chan Wing-sze, who is the daughter of the founder of AHM Engineering, Chan Muk-hing.

When contacted by reporters, Chan Wing-sze confirmed her relationship with Cham Muk-hing, but refused to say which company E-sports and Music Festival were outsourced to.

HKTB said that after 168 Production won the bid, it outsourced the project to E-sports company CGA. The SMTOWN concert was organized by 168 Production itself.

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EL/BN/RA

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