Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ATV’s Wong Jing expresses that he has no intention of hiring Stephen Chan

TVB’s GM Stephen Chan was arrested last Thursday by ICAC on alleged corruption charges; last night, upon posting bail, he was temporarily released and returned home. Since then, Chan has been secluded in his home, not making any public appearances as well as being cutoff from all contact with friends and acquaintances. Prior to the corruption case being revealed, there were already rumors that Chan was planning to resign as TVB GM and pursue a career elsewhere, however now Chan is in a difficult position due to the scandal. Even ATV’s new Chairman Wong Jing, who indicates that the station is thirsting for talent, has indicated that he only heard of Stephen Chan when the corruption case erupted and that “currently, there are no plans to solicit Stephen Chan to join ATV.”

Yesterday, appearing as the ‘special guest’ for an ATV event, Wong Jing expressed that right now, what ATV desperately needs is not money – what they need is talented people. The reporter asked Wong if he knows Stephen Chan and whether he would consider inviting him to join ATV? Wong indicated that he only knew about Chan from reading the news the last few days and that for the time being, there are no plans to invite him to join.

ATV’s vice-chairman Yip Jia Bao was asked whether he would recommend Stephen Chan to Wong Jing. He indicated that the situation is currently under investigation and there are no results yet; once the investigation is complete and they find out what happened, then he may consider it. Asked if ATV will strengthen its own rules regarding employees receiving certain monetary benefits because of TVB’s scandal, he indicated that ATV has always been very careful when it comes to handling of sub-contracted events. Especially during big shows and events, the employees are always reminded about not falling victim to corruption traps. Due to the recent scandals, ATV has indicated that it will once again remind its staff of ICAC’s rules to avoid corruption.

Recently, many TVB artists have clearly separated themselves from Stephen Chan, claiming that they are ‘not close’ to him. Surprisingly, ATV’s Paw Hee Ching has spoken out saying that she is very close with Chan and that they once went to visit a mainland TV station together. She indicated that Chan is a person who is very passionate about his work and so it’s hard to believe that he would do this, however with the current situation, it’s not the right time to make any judgments yet.

Yesterday, reporters tried contacting Chan via text and phone messages, however they did not receive any responses. As for TVB, they received 5 letters from audiences yesterday commenting on Stephen Chan’s case. Three of the letters were in support of Chan, one letter requested that TVB stop airing <>, and the last one questioned why such a big organization as TVB would allow corruption to happen. Also, the day that Chan was arrested as well as the next day, TVB’s nightly news that reported the situation receiving high ratings of 22 and 23 points respectively, which is higher than its usual ratings by 3 points. TVB’s spokesperson and Director of External Affairs Tsang Sing Ming indicated that they will continue to air <>, since there are 3 episodes already recorded. With regard to rumors that over 100 TVB artists are being interrogated by the ICAC in connection with the case, Tsang replied: “I cannot comment on this.” Asked whether TVB’s chairwoman Mona Fong put a gag order in place, Tsang would not respond, re-emphasizing only that TVB does have anti-corruption education for its staff and that everyone in the organization will cooperate fully with the investigation.

In related news, TVB City continues to be closed off to the public due to all the reporters camped out in front of the station. Yesterday, new arrangements were made by TVB to put up tents outside for the reporters as well as provide lunchboxes, fruits, and drinks for them; in addition, portable bathrooms were also put up for the reporters, since they are no longer allowed to enter the City to use the restrooms. Because of the closure, the blessing ceremony for the new series <>, which was supposed to take place at TVB City, was moved to a restaurant in Tseung Kwan O instead. It was reported that two of Stephen Chan’s ‘favorites’ – Steven Ma and Patrick Tang – will be in attendance at the ceremony.

Due to the widespread effect of Stephen Chan’s alleged corruption case, many artists – from actors / actresses to singers – are targets of investigation by the ICAC. Earlier, in addition to 3 of TVB’s fa-dans Charmaine Sheh, Tavia Yeung, and Shirley Yeung being interrogated by the ICAC, actor Joe Ma was also asked to ‘assist’ in the investigation. Joe Ma expressed that he cannot divulge the contents of his conversation with ICAC or any details of the case. Asked whether being interrogated by the ICAC was scary? Joe responded: “What is there to be afraid of? I used to be a cop and part of my duty was interrogating people; this time I’m the one being interrogated – it’s just like having a casual conversation with someone. As long as the truth is spoken, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

As for rumors that some artists have been giving expensive handbags to upper management as ‘gifts’, Joe laughed and said: “I have never given any gifts to anyone…hey, maybe that’s why I never get promoted and never get any awards. However the company [TVB] is still very good to me.” He indicated that he is not very close to Stephen Chan and does not have his phone number, so he has not called him since the situation erupted. (Asked if he is part of Virginia Lok’s ‘clique’?) He says that he is not aware of there being any ‘sides’ or ‘cliques’ and frankly he doesn’t care, since his concern is basically filming series. (So even though he attended Virginia Lok’s birthday party, he is not considered one of her ‘favorites’?) He says: “If they invite me, then I will attend. Nancy Sit also invited me to her birthday party, so does that mean I am part of Nancy’s clique?”

Source: Mingpao

Translation: llwy12@ http://asianfanatics.net


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