SCMP Friday, August 24, 2001

Pamela's lipstick her only luxury


Socialite Pamela Pak Wan-kam left the high life behind her yesterday to spend her first night in jail, where she will be denied all her beloved make-up except red lipstick.
Her fall from grace means she will have to swap her luxury Jardine's Lookout home in Butler Towers, Boyce Road, for 16-1/2 Milestone, Castle Peak Road, New Territories - the address of the Tai Lam Centre for Women, a low-security prison.
As part of the admission procedure she had to undergo a body check and medical examination.
"She is now a convicted person. No matter what an inmate's background, there is no difference in treatment," a Correctional Services spokesman said.
Pak, 57, is expected to perform regular prison jobs, such as laundry or kitchen duties, or making garments.
"Every inmate has to do it unless they have medical grounds," the spokesman said. "Lipstick is among items allowed, but only red."
Body lotion is also allowed.
Pak, who became a household name after launching her talk show Heart To Heart in 1986, will not be allowed to contribute to any of the various publications for which she writes columns.
"One cannot make money or publish articles during the serving of a sentence," the spokesman said.
But she will have access to a telephone and can write letters.
Pak, who yesterday lost an appeal against her three-month sentence for tax evasion, will be hoping that with good behaviour her prison term will be cut by a third.
Appealing for sympathy for Pak, her lawyer Graham Harris told the court his client had now become a figure of fun in the public eye.
"If that's true, that's sad," said Mr Justice Gareth Lugar-Mawson.
Earlier, the judge had asked to see a copy of an Apple Daily newspaper cartoon, published on April 23, four days after her conviction.
"That ridiculous cartoon is cruel and unkind with references to terms that are most offensive," Mr Harris said.
"She has been through enough. She has been punished enough," he said while urging the judge to set aside the three-month sentence. But his appeal was in vain.
Dubbed the Queen of Late Night Radio and famous for her on-air relationship advice, Pak had enjoyed a successful media career.
But her career suffered a major setback in 1997 when Metro suspended her show after a programme gave alleged details about the sex life of late Cantonese opera singer Tang Wing-cheung.
Her misery was compounded by reported property losses of more than $10 million during the Asian financial crisis.
Her life became even more colourful in 1989 when she started a relationship with maverick solicitor Paul Tse Wai-chun, who is also her legal adviser.

The couple will be best remembered for their flamboyance last year when Mr Tse unsuccessfully attempted to win a seat in the Legislative Council.

During the campaign he donned a pink Superman costume and drove a matching pink Porsche.