Hong Kong Harvard Alumni Vote To Sue
Feb. 04, 1999
HONG KONG (AP) _ The Harvard Alumni Club of Hong Kong decided Thursday to sue its former president over missing funds earmarked for the U.S. university.
Club members have accused Stephen Chik, a Hong Kong citizen and a 1986 Harvard economics graduate, of funneling $500,000 in donations to his own accounts. He has since returned most of the money, according to officials of the 300-member club.
The club's current president, Aaron Tan, said the case surfaced in December 1997 when a donor who had written a check for $333,000 found out his money never reached the prestigious university in Cambridge, Mass.
The alumni met over lunch in the posh China Club in downtown Hong Kong where they voted ``by a clear majority'' to sue Chik and refer the case to police, said Tan, who replaced Chik last April.
A police spokesman, who spoke on the customary condition of anonymity, said he had no information on either Chik or the case.
Chik had not been informed of the alumni club's decision because ``nobody knows how to reach him,'' Tan said.
The Associated Press placed a phone call to a Hong Kong company where Chik used to work, but the number had been disconnected.
Harvard alumni clubs are autonomous from the school, Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn said.
``If there is a problem and they decided to correct it, that is a good thing. But the university does not directly manage those clubs,'' Wrinn said.
Chik returned $436,000 to the club, Tan said, but the members want the remaining $115,000, which includes interest, returned, Tan said.
The Hong Kong alumni club includes many influential business and community leaders, including Donald Tsang, the territory's financial secretary, and Shelley Lau, director of the government Home Affairs Department.
Tan said it was unclear whether the case would hurt the club's fund-raising ability, already hampered by the Asian financial crisis.