Miss Asia Pageant won’t be final show for ailing Hong Kong network ATV
Originally published at the South China Morning Post on March 25, 2016.
The Miss Asia Pageant will not be the final show on ailing television network ATV, despite previous reports that it would televise the contest one last time.
ATV public relations manager Jeff Wong Sau-tung said on a DBC radio programme on March 11 that the broadcaster would broadcast the pageant for the last time before the end of March. Yet according to its website, the station will close with a rerun of an episode commemorating the 25th anniversary of the pageant that was filmed three years ago.
Wong yesterday told the Post he could not comment on the topic of the final programme and that it was more “suitable” for the company’s provisional liquidator, Deloitte, to address the issue.
The Communications Authority yesterday released a statement saying it would suspend ATV’s free television programme service licence on April 1.
Wingo Ng, who worked as a producer at ATV for more than a decade, said he was not surprised the station was opting for a rerun, instead of this year’s pageant or a special farewell programme, due to a shortage of staff.
“We just received news that there are only about 30 staff members left and it’s just impossible to make a show happen,” said Ng. “There’s no money.”
Former employees who were laid off without receiving more than two months salary are fighting to reclaim their money through the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund – which provides payments in arrears of wages of up to HK$36,000 for workers.
Wong Ching, ATV’s former boss and the company’s largest creditor, is currently seeking to have the station liquidated to recoup his losses, yet talk of new investors may cause him to withdraw his petition.
Two staffers, including Ng, recently became legally recognised as creditors of ATV and will file for the company’s liquidation should Wong Ching withdraw.
Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Bill Tang Ka-piu said there is “strong evidence” for the government to approve the fund.