150 movie stars, singers hold tsunami fund-raising concert in H.K

HONG KONG, Jan. 7 Kyodo

More than 150 movie stars and singers held a seven-hour charity show Friday for the earthquake and tsunami victims southern Asia in a fund-raising drive that is expected to raise millions of dollars.

At least HK$8.6 million (around US$11 million) was collected two and half hours after the ”Crossing-border” concert at the Hong Kong Stadium in Happy Valley, on Hong Kong Island, kicked off at 4 p.m.

Celebrities from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China were performing in the concert broadcast live on television. They include Hong Kong pop heartthrobs Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung and Kelly Chan, Taiwan’s Cheung A-Mei and Beijing-born martial art actor Jet Li.

As of Thursday, the public has raised at least HK$600 million for five major relief organizations, including Oxfam Hong Kong, Hong Kong Red Cross, World Vision Hong Kong, Hong Kong Committee for United Nations Children’s Fund and Salvation Army Hong Kong.

About 746 inmates at Stanley Prison, the high-security prison in Hong Kong, have collected over HK$140,000 for the victims.

Led by the Democratic Party, around 20 groups from different political inclinations have banded together to stage a weeklong donation campaign, raising at least HK$6.5 million.

The relief organizations say the amount of donations raised for the tsunami disaster is unprecedented.

”The zeal of Hong Kong people giving generously is not only reflected in this event,” Oxfam’s fund-raising director Albert Chan said.

”You just need to give them a good cause. Hong Kong people can do very well and very quickly,” he said.

Chan said unlike in the past, Hong Kong donors want to know where the money goes, and Oxfam is considering a more thorough reporting system on how donations are being spent.

Doctors without Borders’ Hong Kong office called a stop on Dec. 31 after meeting its fund-raising target for the city — four days after its donation drive was launched. The office raised at least HK$1.7 million.

Hoo Lai-ting, Doctors without Borders’s Hong Kong public affairs officer, said ”The public was very responsive. We can cope with our emergency operation with money raised in just four days.”

Hoo said all 18 Doctors without Borders offices around the world have stopped receiving donations for the tsunami disaster.

So far, 10 holidaymakers from Hong Kong have been confirmed dead after the tsunami disaster with another 58 still missing, mostly at beach resorts in southern Thailand.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Kyodo News International, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

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