HONG KONG: Hong Kong's and Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing donated HK$100mil (US$12.8mil) to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the city's top Communist Party official promptly declared him a patriot, local media reported yesterday.
Newspapers ran a photo of Li's son, Victor, handing over a mock check made out to Beijing's National Swimming Centre to Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan in Beijing on Saturday.
“What we received is not just money but more importantly the patriotism of Mr Li and his support for the Olympics,” the South China Morning Post quoted Liu Qi, Beijing's top Communist Party official, as saying.
Li is known to be close to the Chinese leadership and frequently donates to charitable causes in the mainland.
The 1 billion yuan (US$120mil) National Swimming Centre began construction late in December. The 17,000-seat centre will host the swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming events.
Li's donation comes after a HK$200mil (US$25.6mil) donation by fellow Hong Kong tycoon Henry Fok last year, according to the Post.
Nicknamed “Superman” for his moneymaking prowess, Li's empire includes real estate, shipping, mobile networks, oil and retail companies. He was ranked the world's 19th richest man by Forbes magazine earlier this year. – AP