Tuesday, 22 April 2014

"Never Dance Alone" Actresses

Many younger TVB fans (me included!) may not be familiar with the actresses in Never Dance Alone, who were active during the 1980s and 1990s. Here's a brief rundown of the seven actresses.

Carmen Lee (李若彤)

Carmen was an air stewardess before entering the entertainment industry. She became widely known after playing Xiaolongnü in TVB's 1995 remake of The Condor Heroes with Louis Koo. Her popularity was boosted further after she participated in another wuxia remake, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. Carmen was known for her versatility in portraying many different types of characters. She largely retired from the television and film industry starting in 2005.

Last TVB series: Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (1997)

Rachel Lee (李麗珍)

Rachel began filming commercials since high school. During her early career, she was a member of the “Happy Young Girls”, a group known for their young, cheerful image. Later, she made a drastic change and got a breakthrough from Category III movies. In 1999, she was awarded Best Actress in Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards for her performance in the film Ordinary Heroes. Since then, she has been working mostly in the Mainland market.

Last TVB series: War of Genders (2000)

Gloria Yip (葉蘊儀)

Gloria entered the showbiz at the young age of 13 and quickly became a sensation. Based on her role in the film Peacock King, she was named “Most Popular Foreign Actress” in both Japan and Korea, the first Hong Kong actress to receive both awards in the same year. Her popularity streak continued throughout Asia as she released music albums in Japanese, Korean and Mandarin. She retired in 1995 after her marriage, though she made a brief comeback from 2001-2004.

Last TVB series: Justice Bao (1995)

Angie Cheong (張慧儀)

Angie represented Malaysia at the 1993 Miss Chinese International beauty pageant and was awarded a contract with TVB. She became a household name with her two roles in A Kindred Spirit. The death scene of one of her characters set a ratings record at that time. Her other notable role was the “Spider Demon” in Journey to the West. In 2006, she stepped away from the entertainment circle to focus on her healthy foods business.

Last TVB series: Armed Reaction IV (2004)

Fennie Yuen (袁潔瑩)

Fennie was discovered at the age of 16 by famed movie producer Raymond Wong. As a prominent member of the “Happy Young Girls” group, she starred in many comedies and had a part in the group’s three music albums. She also released two individual albums on her own. Beginning in 1992, she ventured onto the television scene. Her most notable work is her double role in Face to Face, where she played a pair of sisters with opposite personalities. She has been in retirement since 2003.

Last TVB series: Slim Chances (2002)

Flora Chan (陳慧珊)

Flora started as a news reporter for TVB’s English channel. She became an actress after being offered a role in File of Justice V. From there, she quickly became one of the top fadans and participated in numerous classics, such as Untraceable Evidence, Healing Hands and Triumph in the Skies. She was awarded Best Actress in 2002 for her role in Family Man. She has been in semi-retirement mode since her marriage and her daughter’s birth in 2007.

Last TVB series: Suspects in Love (2010)

Elvina Kong (江欣燕)

Elvina participated in the 1985 New Talent Singing Awards and was signed by TVB. She joined the long-running variety show Enjoy Yourself Tonight, where she gained recognition for portraying the Filipino domestic worker “Maria”. She took a hiatus in 2001 following her marriage, before returning to TVB in 2006. Upon her return, she has participated in the sitcoms Best Selling Secrets and Off Pedder and was brought on as a host of the Super Trio show.

Last TVB series: Let It Be Love (2012)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Case of Chan Kau-tai

The second episode of ICAC Investigators 2014 is adapted from the real-life case of Chan Kau-tai (陳裘大). He is the father of singer Eason Chan.

Lawrence Cheng's character is based on Chan Kau-tai.

Chan Kau-tai was the Chief Building Services Engineer of the Housing Department in Hong Kong. Between 2000-2001, he was investigated by the ICAC for taking bribes from contractors and material suppliers in exchange for helping them win government contracts or giving them favourable treatment during the inspection process. He was also accused of accepting money to help a friend's son get a job in the government. In total, he took in $3 million HKD from bribes.

During the trial, the ICAC famously presented video footage of Chan counting banknotes in his office. The video was captured using surveillance cameras installed in his office, with the permission of his superior. Although the legality of the ICAC's surveillance was questioned, the court ultimately admitted the tapes as evidence. Chan was convicted on 10 of 16 charges and sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment.

This was the story presented in ICAC Investigators 2014, but it is not the full story.

Chan appealed the ruling on the basis that the ICAC purposely concealed the DUI (driving under influence) record of one of the case's principal investigators. The credibility of that investigator's testimony and fairness of the trial was challenged. The appeal was allowed and a re-trial was ordered.

In addition, during the trials of the four suppliers, the ICAC was found to have violated the defendants' rights by seizing their documents without a search warrant and tape-recording their conversations with their lawyer. The latter is a violation of the legal professional privilege, which protects a person's right to seek legal advice without fear that their communications with their lawyer would be used against them. A violation of this right would severely impact the public's confidence in the justice system, thus the district court issued a permanent stay of proceedings. The stay of proceedings was appealed by the Department of Justice. The appeal was allowed and the cases were sent back for re-trial.

In the end, Chan was sentenced to six years of imprisonment, while two of the suppliers who had allegedly offered bribes were acquitted. In 2008, Chan was released on parole.