Former Chairman of Asia Television (ATV) and founder of Far East Holdings, Deacon Chiu (邱德根) passed away at the age of 90 on March 16. He was found unconscious in his apartment and rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Born in Shanghai in 1924, Deacon first arrived in Hong Kong in the 1950s to purchase films for broadcast in his Chinese cinemas. He subsequently decided to settle in Hong Kong and set up cinemas there, becoming so successful that he owned more than ten cinemas in Hong Kong. He then bought land in Tsuen Wan for development and set up the a bank for local residents. This bank was the origins of today’s Far East Bank.
In the 1980s, Deacon sold his 10 percent stake in TVB and bought over a 50 percent stake in what was then known as Rediffusion Television (RTV). He acquired a 100 percent stake in RTV in 1982, renamed it ATV and successfully turned it into a profitable television channel. In ATV’s history, Deacon was one of its few Chairmen who managed to keep ATV profitable.
While at ATV, Deacon was known for his thriftiness, which bordered on stinginess. He allegedly restricted all ATV employees to two squares of toilet paper each time they used the toilet. According to Deacon, that was a necessary measure because many employees used to steal toilet paper from the ATV toilets. In 1989, however, Deacon sold ATV to the Lim Por Yen (林百欣) family and the New World Group.
One of the most controversial events concerning Deacon took place in his sunset years. He was embroiled in a fraud allegation where he was accused of falsifying accounts. Deacon’s defense established that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease at the time. Strangely enough, he did not retire after this incident and continued to remain as the Chairman of the Board at Far East Holdings.
ATV artiste Frankie Choi (蔡国威) expressed regret at Deacon’s death and described Deacon as a nice and approachable man. He also said that many seniors have only good things to say about Deacon Chiu.
This article is written by Jingles for JayneStars.com.