Lau Kong Left TVB Because of Pay Cut

Last week, veteran actor Lau Kong (劉江) left TVB after 37 years of working with the company. Asked why he left, Lau Kong didn’t reveal the specific cause but said his departure was imminent for actors his generation. In a recent interview, Lau Kong finally revealed that his salary was cut in half by TVB, which would make it impossible for him to live by.

At the height of his income, Lau Kong was making $60,000 HKD as a full-time employee, which includes all show appearances. Under his new contract, TVB dropped his salary to $7500 HKD and reduced his show appearances. “With the cuts, it is really hard to continue. My acting interest aside, but I also have to survive.”

Lau Kong expressed that the pay cuts have gotten to a point where he cannot accept it anymore. With his current salary, he can’t even afford his living expenses. which is why he decided to leave. He said, “With the cuts, it is really hard to continue. I have a lot of passion [for acting], but I also have to survive.”

The 73-year-old actor appeared in over 300 TVB dramas and had mentored countless younger artistes. January 15 was Lau Kong’s last day at the station, and he felt bittersweet leaving behind over three decades of memories.

Not wanting to retire yet, Lau Kong said he still wants to act and would welcome working with any interested parties.

Source: HK01

This article is written by Hailey for

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  1. Sad he dedicated almost his whole life to TVB and they short change him when he’s old. TVB should take care of their veteran actors.

    1. @jane626 unfortunately, this is how most employers are. When workers are old and deemed invaluable, they want to pay them less or let them go.

      This is why people should always look out for themselves, instead of dedicating their life to companies they work for because most companies dont care about them

      1. @luye
        Maybe that is why many retire after a certain age but it is great that Lau Kong still wants to act but stupid TVB did this to him. They are sick!!!

      2. @hetieshou @luye There are many other veteran artists around the same age as him, have already retired from the entertainment industry years ago. I never would have thought Lau Kong are still struggling financially and relying on TVB salary for a living. At his age I thought he would have saved enough money for retirement.

      3. @sam01
        Very good point and I was wondering the same thing. At his age, many are already retired or moved on to better pastures as who wants to stay with a shady company like TVB unless they had no other choice. Even though tvb’s salary is low, many are able to make money through advertisements and stuff. I also wonder if he has any children that help him out? I feel bad for him if he is so old but yet does not have financial stability and had to rely on TVB to make ends meet. So sad that many artists are struggling financially like this. I remember reading about a Yuen Wah who worked so hard but made very little money even though he acted in mainland which pays better. Maybe they did not know how to save and invest?

      4. @sam01 @hetieshou Actually, this interview isn’t complete…they took part of what he said in his Mingpao interview and only reported on the most sensational part. If you read/watch his other interview, he made it clear it’s not because of money….yes, TVB did cut his pay and reduced his hours, but that doesn’t mean he is struggling financially. He’s actually doing fine financially, it’s just TVB’s actions crossed his bottom line and he felt disrespected, so he left. This is what many of the veteran artists have talked about with TVB — at the end of the day, it’s not about the money per se, rather it’s about the lack of dignity and respect.

        I mentioned in the other thread about another long time green leaf artist, Lau Kwai Fong, who had the same thing done to her (except her pay was cut by 95% instead of half). TVB has been doing the same thing to almost all the green leaf artists, because to them, the younger artists who are more promotable are obviously more important. They are a crap company that has gotten progressively worse over the years. Shame on them for treating veteran artists this way!

      5. @sam01 @hetieshou @llwy12 idk if Lau Kong is currently struggling financially. He said he acts because it’s his passion. During an interview, he said when he was young, he had to work many jobs at once while working at TVB because he had to support his son’s out of country college tuition.

      6. @luye Yea…he’s very close with his son. Back in the late 1970s, he actually had a stroke while on set (he was only 33 at the time and was working for RTV, the precursor to ATV)..he said he was able to pull through and leave the hospital so quickly because of his son, who was only 2 or 3 years old..he had to get well for his son’s sake. And yes, he worked hard for decades to put his only son through school..his son is in his 40s now and works in finance…if anything, Lau Kong (who is known for being a good father) has a good son who will take care of him and his wife, so he doesn’t have to worry financially at least…

  2. The shamelessly forced out veterans, and promote talentless younger generations. So cruel and heartless. I bet it has to do with him speaking up about harsh working condition.

  3. So insulting. Tvb treats its pillars like trash. Lau Kong has been in all their golden dramas and part of the reason for its successes.

  4. wow TVB i knew you were nasty but to the point of forcing these hard working and loyal seniors artist, this is another blow for your image

  5. I am not that shocked as TVB has always been sleazy. I cannot believe that they can treat veterans like this. He deserves so much better. Luckily with his long list of acting experiences and connections, he does not need to worry about getting acting jobs. There are also many other companies available these days so it is not just TVB. Maybe his departure is an indication of TVB sinking ship. Best wishes to him and I am sure he will be fine.

    1. @hetieshou Lau Kong won the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. I guess it was just a front TVB put up to show that they actually care about the veteran actors. But then they turn around and cut their pay. Absolutely disgusting.

  6. It’s funny when Wayne Lai accused the viewer of being ungrateful towards TVB. Well, fuck him and fuck TVB.

  7. 60,000 HKD a month? Or a yearly salary? If a yearly salary…idk how he manages to live. That’s like $7700 USD a year.

    1. @coralie It does seem low but I guess they are not expected to work everyday, just for shows they are called on?

      Hope he at least has a pension ready.

    2. @coralie
      It’s a month. Considering amount of screen time and number of series Lau Kong acts in, this is no surprise but it is peanuts compared to what the lead actor/actresses are earning…

  8. Veterans don’t need the money for a luxurious life. They act because they enjoy it. They expect deserved respect especially after decades of producing brilliant pieces of work. If the company decreases the salary by even 1 dollar that is a sign of disrespect to a invaluable veteran….

    1. @jimmyszeto Exactly! And the sad part is, Lau Kong didn’t even ask for a raise like other veteran artists did (which of course, there’s nothing wrong with, especially if you’ve worked for the same company for decades, but TVB seems to like using this as an excuse for why they are justified in letting veterans go)…he’s happy with just getting the same pay he’s been getting (even if it’s way lower than market price) and continuing to do what he loves (acting)….yet, TVB took it upon themselves to push him out (and insult him in the process). Honestly, sometimes I don’t get what the bonehead management at TVB are thinking….the TVB ship deserves to sink and I hope it happens soon…

      1. @llwy12
        I just don’t understand the wage decreases especially for long serving veterans. Surely there is somewhere to draw a line. Long serving successful actors such as lau dan, Law Lok Lam and Lau Kong surely should be in separate bracket immune from paycuts smaller actor may receive. Firstly these are actors of numerous dozens of classics which are still re-broadcasted year after year. Unlike the younger ones, they can’t really attend many shows to sing bs songs to earn extra cash. Also these older actors, at their advancing age, even if they aren’t forced to leave they will retire in the near future anyway so how can these few years of maintaining salary be so critical for the station ? Why decrease their salary and save those meagre amounts to disrespect people who have cemented the legacy of the station with their work? It’s just ridiculous!

      2. @jimmyszeto I don’t get it either to be honest. But it’s obvious that Hong Kong either doesn’t have labor laws or if they do, the laws are weak and/or not enforced….which is why TV stations such as TVB (and up to a few years ago ATV) can operate what amount to sweatshops and not only fail to compensate their employees accordingly, but worse, reduce their wages to the point that they are essentially working for free. In most other places, this would be illegal, but in HK, it’s acceptable….another example of this — back when ATV was struggling financially and didn’t pay their employees a cent for up to like 6 months, no one at the station got in trouble for it and most employees just accepted it as being the way it is.

        TVB is lucky that these veterans come from a generation that values loyalty and honor — a generation that, even if they are treated poorly, they won’t begrudge TVB because of the role the station played in making their careers. Even now, Lau Kong still speaks fondly of TVB and refuses to blast them for what they did…and he originally didn’t plan on revealing the reason why he left — he only did so because too many people were asking him after the news came out that he was leaving and he wanted to put an end to the speculation. For TVB to knowingly take advantage of these artists, it ticks me off to no end!

      3. @llwy12
        An explanation I can think of is maybe the people who are running TVB now are just finance people who has no knowledge of the history and culture of the station…

      4. @jimmyszeto Or it’s more like the people who run it now know the history and culture, but they don’t care. TVB’s current CEO Mark Lee was an accountant before he joined TVB back in 2007 (I had heard he was darn good at his job, winning numerous accolades in the accounting field) and from the beginning, he was all about cutting costs and keeping a tight hand on the money…in the early years when he took over, there were numerous complaints about him taking away all of the “perks” that TVB artists used to have, such as company dinners (which promoted camaraderie amongst all workers), transportation / gas money (which was important considering how far away TVB City was from where most of their employees lived), did away with on-location filming (which is stupid because any consummate actor will tell you how important real location filming is to their performances), etc. When the complaints got too massive, Mark Lee started re-instating some of those things, but it was kind of already too late…and it looks like over the years, he has become even more aggressive in managing the financial aspects, resulting in what we have now with veteran artists salaries being drastically cut with no good explanation.

        And the guy above him, Charles Chan (who is no longer TVB chairman as of several weeks ago) was no better, as he famously said when he bought TVB 10 years ago, that he had no plans on changing anything and basically was expecting to sit in his office and collect money.

        And now, the guy who technically owns both TVB and Shaw Brothers (Mainland businessman Li Ruigang) cares even less about TVB’s legacy, as this is just one in a number of “business ventures” for him around the globe (and probably the one that makes the least amount of money for him). With these guys at the helm, it’s no wonder TVB has deteriorated to the point it has…

        I’m willing to bet that the minute veteran producer Catherine Tsang (who holds an executive position at TVB currently, at least on paper) decides to quit or retire or whatever, TVB will absolutely fold, as she is pretty much the only reason why most of the long-time producers and artists still work at TVB (and ex-artists are willing to return, since she’s been around since the 1980s and personally helped shape many former artists’ careers). I’m hoping that day comes sooner rather than later…ATV lasted 59 years before it was finally forced to shut its doors (after losing its broadcasting license)….TVB is now in its 53rd year — I’ll give it another 7 years (so at least it can still “beat” ATV in lasting longer than them, lol)….

  9. Sad to see him leave maybe he can join Shaw brother? Or Louis Koo company to earn more money? I wonder who’s next for the veterans actors to have a paycheck cut? Lau Dan? Maybe?

  10. Sir Run Run Shaw treated his employees very well and that’s how TVB was at its prime for decades. After he stepped down and passed on to the new management, everything turned downhill. But his wife was still in control. It became worse like now after he passed away and his wife stepped down too. When TVB was sold. It’s just greedy people running a company like any other companies. No longer people who have passion in the entertainment industry running the company. Garbage management , garbage products. Do people know why some ran off to Shaw Brothers? Well, because it’s still run by the Shaw. Not the 2 matriarch women.

    1. @annebee Actually, not really. Shaw Brothers Pictures now is jointly owned by CMC (Mainland businessman Li Ruigang’s company) and TVB…the original Shaw Brothers’ descendants may still have a stake in the company, but even if they do, it is insignificant and they are definitely not the ones calling the shots. Shaw Brothers really isn’t that much better than TVB, it’s just that they have access to a wider array of artists and behind-the-scenes people to work with because they don’t apply TVB’s policies to their operations (for the most part at least)…and nowadays, they also try to play down the association with TVB as much as possible, which definitely helps, given TVB’s bad reputation…

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