TRANSPORT tycoon Ngan Shing-kwan, a former rickshaw
puller who founded the China Motor Bus Company, died on Saturday. He
was believed to be 95.
Mr Ngan was born in Chaoyang city, Guangdong. He began his transport
career as a rickshaw puller on Nathan Road in the 1920s and
established the company in 1933 when he received the exclusive bus
franchise for Hong Kong Island.
He remained company chairman until his death.
When complaints about service quality and threats of industrial strife
caused the company to lose the bus franchise in 1998, it switched
focus to property investment.
The company, 48 per cent owned by the Ngan family, made big profits
from redeveloping the company's old bus-depot sites for commercial,
residential and industrial use.
Mr Ngan, a devout Christian, was reputedly a frugal man who held board
meetings inside a dilapidated building. Staff members have recalled
him sitting up late to count the company's takings in coins.
He was an influential establishment figure who befriended the colonial
administration and became an ex-officio member of the Executive
Council from 1959 to 1961 and a Legislative Council member for a
decade in the 1950s.
Mr Ngan was the first chairman of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, was
made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, was a member of
the Urban Council for seven years from 1953, and was a leading figure
in the Chiu Chow Chamber of Commerce since the 1930s.
Remembered as a wiry man who wore thick black-rimmed spectacles, he
was a trustee of Hop Yat Church in Bonham Road and was instrumental in
the development of Hop Yat Church (Kowloon) in 1957, the Hop Yat
Church (North Point) in 1984 and the Hop Yat Church (Ma On Shan) in
Kwan Chuk-fai, general manager for corporate communications for the
company's former competitor New World First Bus Services, recalled
yesterday that Mr Ngan introduced double-decker buses to Hong Kong.
Mr Ngan is survived by his children: joint managing director Irene
Ngan Kit-ling, a solicitor; assistant managing director Horace Ngan
Kit-keung; and non-executive director Henry Ngan, a medical
Funeral services will be held at noon on April 27 at the Union Church
in Kennedy Road, followed by burial at the Chinese Christian Cemetery
in Pok Fu Lam.
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