The government has appointed industrialist Sunny Chai – nephew of Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing – as the new chair of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation board. Chai replaces Fanny Law, who will leave at the end of June.

Law had only been in the position for four years – shorter than the six year limit. On Wednesday, she told reporters that she did not run for re-election at China’s top legislature last year so that she could devote her time fully to the development of technology in Hong Kong. She said it would be up to the government to explain why her tenure was not extended.

Veteran Democratic Party lawmaker James To said he believed Law’s departure was a political decision in order to remove public figures associated with the era of former chief executive Leung Chun-ying. “In the eyes of the current administration, Law was a fan of Leung Chun-ying,” he said.

Fanny Law
Fanny Law.

The new appointment came several local outlets cited unnamed sources claiming that Law did not have a good working relationship with Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang. Yang reportedly asked Chai to take the position instead.

In a statement, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she was deeply grateful to Law for her tremendous contribution to the corporation and the development of Hong Kong’s innovation and technology ecosystem.

Hong Kong Science Park
Hong Kong Science Park. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

But To said he believed Law’s departure was part of an organised effort by Lam. Last month, Larry Kwok left as the chair of the Independent Police Complaints Council. Whilst last December, Maria Tam left as the chair of the Operations Review Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

He said Law was working very hard in her position and he could not imagine her failing to win an extension.

He also said that Law did made some serious mistakes during tenure, such as writing to some companies demanding they reveal certain information: “But I don’t think her departure was because of that,” he said.

Nicholas Yang
Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang. File Photo: GovHK.

To also said he did not believe Law’s poor working relationship with Yang was the main reason for Lam telling Law to leave.

The new chair, Sunny Chai, was a member of the Science and Technology Parks Corporation’s board.

Chai is the deputy chair of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and a member of the Chongqing City Political Consultative Conference.

Sunny Chai
Sunny Chai. Photo: Federation of Hong Kong Industries

To said he did not know Chai well because he kept a low profile in the technology field.

He said Chai may be important in the field because the government appointed him: “but I would not expect anything new.”

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.