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HK pols weigh in on ATV exec mess

Rita Lau contacts shareholders

HONG KONG — The government has expressed its concern over management maneuverings at Asia Television, Hong Kong’s second most popular commercial TV broadcaster.

Rita Lau, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, has been in contact with ATV’s shareholders “to make clear the government’s dissatisfaction … and to try to avoid unwarranted speculation while maintaining public confidence in ATV’s ability to continue to provide free-to-air TV services.”

The move comes after an extraordinarily muddled exec shuffle, in which ATV topper Louis Page was replaced by Linus Cheung as executive chairman and Ricky Wong as CEO on Dec. 4.

ATV then claimed that Wong had resigned after less than two weeks in the job, something he denied.

The emergence of a vote-fixing scandal at the ATV-organized Miss Asia pageant turned the situation into a mess.

Wong agreed to step down last Wednesday, but remains at the web as a consultant.

“The recent events surrounding the management changes have been played out in the full glare of media and public scrutiny and this has resulted in understandable public concern,” a government spokesman said.

After her initial contact, Lau later sent ATV a letter making it very clear that the government expected the company to move quickly to clarify the situation and sort out the management changes. ATV responded positively and submitted formal written notification of the changes.

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