SCMP Friday, June 1, 2001

Socialite fails to see funny side of character on TVB


Socialite Theresa Po Wing-kam is suing TVB for defamation over comments by a prime-time comedy show character she claims is based on her.
Ms Po, 48, whose high-profile relationship with ex-disc jockey Hung Chiu-fung has made headlines since 1999, claims her reputation suffered after remarks by a character on Screen Play on the Chinese Jade channel.
One of the show's recurring characters, a "Miss Po", was also referred to by the nickname "Po Po", according to the writ launching the suit in the High Court on Wednesday.
Ms Po, who is suing Television Broadcasts Ltd for unspecified damages, says her surname is not common in Hong Kong and she is known in the media as "Po Po".
She took offence at remarks in episodes broadcast on January 25 and 26 this year and since made available on video, concerning "Miss Po's" relationship with an ex-disc jockey known as "Fung Fung", which is also Hung Chiu-fung's media nickname.
"The plaintiff was widely known to have a romance with a disc jockey, Hung Chiu-fung," the writ says.
Ms Po and Mr Hung split in November 1999 after 11 months. They have since reconciled.
Ms Po, a director of Magalink Development, which specialises in investment and trading in stocks, also took offence at a remark which touched on the character's relationship with her ex-husband. "The defendant was in fact broadcasting and publishing the private life of the plaintiff in order to make a profit," the writ says.
The former chairwoman of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals "has been gravely injured in her character, credit and reputation as a businesswoman and has been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt", the writ claims.
Ms Po is seeking "aggravated or exemplary damages" for reasons including the fact that the drama was also made available on video.
The writ says audiences around the world have had access to the video, particularly Chinese communities in Asia, North America and Europe.
She is also seeking an injunction to restrain TVB from publishing in any form the alleged defamatory words.