Sun, Jun 13, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Anti-graft agency in HK looking into SARS shows

AP , HONG KONG

Hong Kong's anti-graft agency has launched a criminal investigation into a concert series headlined by the Rolling Stones that critics said cost too much, was poorly managed and failed to improve the territory's image, officials said yesterday.

The government spent more than HK$100 million (US$12.8 million) for the so-called Harborfest concerts, which were sponsored by the government's investment promotion department and organized by the local American Chamber of Commerce.

Critics said the shows were a waste of public money because of poor ticket sales and alleged overpayments to Western performers.

Invest Hong Kong -- the government department that sponsored last year's concert series -- said the Independent Commission Against Corruption is carrying out "a criminal investigation" into Harborfest.

Last month, two investigators appointed by Hong Kong's leader said there was "some degree of overpayment to most of the Western artists."

The concert series was intended to help Hong Kong bounce back from the SARS outbreak.

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