About Novel HKSAR Names
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PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 December, 2014, 3:11pmUPDATED : Thursday, 25 December, 2014, 12:04pm
Danny Lee, Alex Millson
Hong Kong police say they have recovered some HK$ 3.6 million out of the HK$15 million that went missing after a money transport van with a faulty rear door spilled large bundles of cash over a busy road on Christmas Eve.
Some motorists and passers-by treated themselves to an early Christmas around lunchtime yesterday, dashing onto Gloucester Road to pick up large stacks of banknotes before armed policemen were able to stave them off and restore order.
Police said on Thursday morning that 13 people had returned HK$3.6 million, after they asked the public to help return as much as HK$15 million which went missing in the frantic scramble for the cash, most of it in HK$500 notes - equivalent of about US$65. No arrests had been made.
Following the incident, British security service company G4S – responsible for transporting the cash – told the South China Morning Post it expected to be liable for the loss of millions.
A spokeswoman said an internal probe was underway, but initial findings blamed a van door malfunction.
People were seen darting onto Gloucester Road in an attempt to scoop up handfuls of HK$500 notes, while witnesses spoke of at least one person collecting an armful of still-wrapped bundles of notes.
Police superintendent Wan Siu-hong on Wednesday asked those who had picked up the money to hand it over to any police officer or police station as soon as possible.
"If he or she keeps the money for his own use, he may commit an offence of theft which is a very serious crime under ordinance," he said.
The security company van was transporting a total HK$525 million in cash, police said. Each cash box it carried contained HK$17.5 million in HK$500 notes.
Of the HK$35 million that fell from the van, some HK$20 million had been retrieved by yesterday afternoon, according to the police.
Despite the excesses of cash spilled, the van operated by three guards continued driving to G4S’s headquarters in Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon, 14 kilometers way, until the incident was reported.
A picture taken by an SCMP photographer at the scene showed a single bundle of HK$500 notes wrapped in plastic, with a sticker on the side bearing the figure HK$500,000 from the Bank of China (Hong Kong).
One witness, an office worker at a nearby building who requested anonymity, told the SCMP he saw a "regular looking Hong Kong lady" pick up at least 10 cash bricks before quickly walking off, although he could not verify the denominations of notes she was carrying.
"I saw a lady with 10 of them, easily. She looked like a very regular Hong Kong lady. She had an armful of bricks of cash - it was a much as she could carry. She just disappeared into the depths of Wan Chai," the witness said.
The eyewitness said he had just left his office building when he noticed traffic grind to a halt.
"It all started slowing down and I noticed a couple of blue boxes on the road. I thought a lorry had lost some of its load. I saw a few people in the street picking up what I thought were iPhone boxes. As I got closer I saw they were wrapped bundles of bills.
"As well as the packed money there were HK$500 bills lying on the road itself.
"At first people did nothing, then one person went into the road," the witness said, before telling how others quickly followed suit.
"You couldn’t make it up. There were 20 or 30 people picking up cash from the road on Christmas Eve. They looked like schoolkids who knew they were being naughty, but thought, ’this is a once in a lifetime thing’. Everyone had the same look on their face."
Pictures posted on social media showed a taxi driver abandoning his car in the middle of the busy dual carriageway and scrambling around on the tarmac in an effort to collect some of the cash.
A police spokesman said: "At 1.51pm police received calls from members of the public that lots of money was on the road and some people were picking it up. It was suspected the money had fallen from a cash escort vehicle."
Armed police quickly arrived on the scene and cordoned off two lanes of Gloucester Road. The eyewitness said officers became angry as those collecting notes initially ignored their call to get out of the road, before the site was cordoned off.
Three boxes, which appeared to be containers used by security firms to transport large amounts of money, could be seen stacked up in the middle of the road being guarded by dozens of police, including armed officers. Representatives of the security firm G4S were also at the scene.
Sheeta Leung Hui-kwan, a spokeswoman for G4S Hong Kong, said: “We are still having an internal investigation and we found that something went wrong with the door on the left side.
“Our guards [conducted] the job according to the standard procedure but during the incident there were three guards in the van.
“Our guards reported the incident when they reached Cheung Sha Wan, our head office. Due to the code of conduct and the comfort problem, we will not put any guards inside where we store the money.
“The normal procedure is, if the bank wants to release the money somewhere, we will collect the cash and then put it in our vault, and we have to count the cash for security, and then we will deliver it according to the bank’s order.”
G4S said the banks normally only recorded the serial numbers if they were new notes. The security firm was only responsible for counting the cash and making sure the amount was correct, she added.
Regarding potential responsibility for the losses, Leung said “it is for sure” G4S was liable to cover the lost funds.
Officers were later seen in a police van counting out notes recovered from the scene.
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 December, 2014, 3:15pmUPDATED : Monday, 22 December, 2014, 3:41amJeffie Lam and Samuel Chan
The mistress of Rafael Hui Si-yan received so much cash from her former lover that she was embarrassed to take more from him, according to a magazine report in which she confirmed the secret affair with the disgraced former chief secretary.
Former Dragonair flight attendant Eline Shen told East Week that she had been shocked to learn Hui had been convicted of graft and misconduct, and feared gifts he had given her - including a Shanghai flat and an Audi car - would be confiscated following Friday's court ruling.
The 34-year-old from Shanghai said she met Hui at a dinner several years ago and they secretly dated for nearly three years, even though she knew that he had a wife.
She would fly from Shanghai to Hong Kong each time Hui called her for company, she said.
"All my expenses in Hong Kong were paid by Hui … we would have sex every time," said Shen, adding their last date was in September 2011, after which the 66-year-old stopped calling her.
Hui confessed in court that he had spent at least HK$7 million on a young Shanghai woman with whom he started an "intimate" relationship in 2008.
Apart from cash handouts, he told the court, he bought properties and made investments for her, as well as buying her bags, watches and other presents.
Shen said she did not know Hui was a senior official until the graft-buster started the probe.
Shen told the Independent Commission Against Corruption that she had used "about five million", without specifying the currency, to buy a flat and an Audi in Shanghai, with the rest used for daily expenses, according to East Week. The mistress reportedly had not asked Hui for more money after his last cash gift in 2009 as he "had already given me so much money that I found it embarrassing to take any more".
Hui's wife, Teresa Lo Mei-mei, did not comment when asked if she would forgive Hui for keeping a mistress when she visited him at the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre on Saturday.
Meanwhile, neither Hui nor Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong - the former Sun Hung Kai Properties co-chairman found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office - had any visitors recognisable to the media during visiting hours yesterday.
At about 12.15pm, just after visiting hours had finished at noon, an employee of Kwok's, thought to be his bodyguard, appeared at the facility. He was inside for about 10 minutes and declined to answer any questions nor confirm if he had met Kwok.
Asked why he was allowed to enter the facility after registration for social visits ended, staff said the visit was not a social one but refused to elaborate.
Former chief secretary and billionaire spend their first night in custody, but property tycoon's brother is cleared of all four charges
PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 December, 2014, 4:42pmUPDATED : Saturday, 20 December, 2014, 3:43am
Hong Kong's former No 2 official Rafael Hui Si-yan and property tycoon Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong spent their first night behind bars after they were convicted of corruption yesterday in a marathon trial that gave a rare glimpse into collusion between the political elite and big business.
Kwok's younger brother, Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, was acquitted of all his four charges. He now takes sole charge of Sun Hung Kai Properties, the city's biggest property developer by market value, as its chairman.
Red-eyed and weary, the 61-year-old walked free from the High Court alone as two other co-accused were also found guilty.
"I have conflicting emotions," he told the media circus waiting outside court. Thanking his wife, mother, children and God, he added: "On the one hand, I'm happy … I've been proven innocent after these two years of struggles. On the other, I'm very unhappy because Thomas Kwok and Thomas Chan … are convicted. We will continue to support [them and their] families."
Thomas Kwok, 63, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. The brothers' top aide Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, 68, was found guilty of two counts - a fate shared by ex-stock exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang, 64.
Last night, SHKP said Thomas Kwok and Chan would appeal against their convictions. Both resigned from the property giant after the verdicts.
The man at the centre of the storm, Hui, was convicted of five out of eight charges, making him the highest-ranking official in Hong Kong's history to be convicted of taking bribes.
The case marked the dramatic fall of a man who was once the most influential and decorated star in local politics. Failing to escape the long arm of the law, a fragile Hui, 66, nodded blankly in the dock yesterday as the jury delivered its verdicts at 2.45pm.
Chan, who sat behind Hui, turned red in the face, while Raymond Kwok laid a hand on the shoulder of his elder brother. As he prepared to leave the dock, Raymond paused to speak to the court guards, as if to confirm he really could go.
All four criminals were taken away by Correctional Services Department officers. They may be sentenced as soon as Monday when Mr Justice Andrew Macrae hears mitigation pleas. By last night, Hui and Kwan had yet to decide if they would appeal.
Macrae ordered a doubling of fees for the nine jurors to HK$820 a day, meaning each could claim about HK$100,000 for their work on the case. He exempted all nine from jury service for five years, thanking them for showing "why retention of the jury system is so important in the city".
The case, lasting 131 days, was a close fight to the end. The jurors alone took five days and four nights to make up their minds, and had to seek directions from the judge once. And although four of the five were convicted, only 10 out of the 19 verdicts were in favour of the prosecution.
"[Thomas Kwok] considers the verdict very strange," his lawyer Lawrence Lok SC said outside the court. "Why were some defence arguments accepted but not others, when they were part of the same thing?"
Of Hui's five convictions, three counts were about misconduct in public office. He concealed from his public-sector employers financial benefits totalling HK$16.582 million.
Thomas Kwok was convicted of paying Hui HK$8.5 million, via middlemen Chan and Kwan, days before the latter became chief secretary in 2005. All four were found guilty of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office in a 7-2 jury decision. But the Kwoks were cleared of involvement in HK$11.182 million in bribes for which the other defendants were found guilty.
The billionaire brothers and Hui were cleared of paying HK$5 million and HK$4.125 million in bribes in 2005.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption said it would continue to exercise the law "regardless of the background, status and position of the persons involved". SHKP and two listed subsidiaries, Smartone and Sunevision, were suspended from trading at 2.45pm.
Additional reporting by Enoch Yiu, Julie Chu and Thomas Chan
Bad air truly a matter of life and death
In the two years since the government finished the review of its air quality objectives, nothing has been done about it.
The government doesn't seem to realise the health threats of Hong Kong's poor air quality.
While doctors cannot say on a death certificate that a person was "killed by air pollutants", it is well known among health professionals that air pollution is highly associated with fatal diseases.
Studies have shown that people in polluted areas develop respiratory symptoms more readily and people who are exposed to air pollutants for a long time die sooner than those who are not.
So how bad is the air in Hong Kong? It is not unusual for members of the public to think that air quality is of minimal significance and to consider that our present levels are normal and acceptable.
This is not true.
The air quality objectives have not been updated since 1987, and yet it is this standard that the government uses to assess the extent of air pollution, monitor projects and approve new ones.
The outdated standards are extremely lax compared with the World Health Organisation's air quality guidelines.
Do we not deserve better air to breathe? It is time for the government to face the challenge. No more vague emission control proposals, no more uncertain time frames, no more excuses for negligence.
We can all make a difference by expressing our concerns and urging the government to take action promptly. We all deserve a breath of fresh air.
Wincy Ng Wing-sze, Pok Fu Lam
A SOUTH KOREAN saying claims that a stone thrown from the top of Mount Namsan, in the centre of the capital Seoul, is bound to hit a person with the surname Kim or Lee. One in every five South Koreans is a Kim—in a population of just over 50m. And from the current president, Park Geun-hye, to rapper PSY (born Park Jae-sang), almost one in ten is a Park. Taken together, these three surnames account for almost half of those in use in South Korea today. Neighbouring China has around 100 surnames in common usage; Japan may have as many as 280,000 distinct family names. Why is there so little diversity in Korean surnames?
Korea’s long feudal tradition offers part of the answer. As in many other parts of the world, surnames were a rarity until the late Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). They remained the privilege of royals and a few aristocrats (yangban) only. Slaves and outcasts such as butchers, shamans and prostitutes, but also artisans, traders and monks, did not have the luxury of a family name. As the local gentry grew in importance, however, Wang Geon, the founding king of the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392), tried to mollify it by granting surnames as a way to distinguish faithful subjects and government officials. The gwageo, a civil-service examination that became an avenue for social advancement and royal preferment, required all those who sat it to register a surname. Thus elite households adopted one. It became increasingly common for successful merchants too to take on a last name. They could purchase an elite genealogy by physically buying a genealogical book (jokbo)—perhaps that of a bankrupt yangban—and using his surname. By the late 18th century, forgery of such records was rampant. Many families fiddled with theirs: when, for example, a bloodline came to an end, a non-relative could be written into a genealogical book in return for payment. The stranger, in turn, acquired a noble surname.
As family names such as Lee and Kim were among those used by royalty in ancient Korea, they were preferred by provincial elites and, later, commoners when plumping for a last name. This small pool of names originated from China, adopted by the Korean court and its nobility in the 7th century in emulation of noble-sounding Chinese surnames. (Many Korean surnames are formed from a single Chinese character.) So, to distinguish one’s lineage from those of others with the same surname, the place of origin of a given clan (bongwan) was often tagged onto the name. Kims have around 300 distinct regional origins, such as the Gyeongju Kim and Gimhae Kim clans (though the origin often goes unidentified except on official documents). The limited pot of names meant that no one was quite sure who was a blood relation; so, in the late Joseon period, the king enforced a ban on marriages between people with identical bongwan (a restriction that was only lifted in 1997). In 1894 the abolition of Korea’s class-based system allowed commoners to adopt a surname too: those on lower social rungs often adopted the name of their master or landlord, or simply took one in common usage. In 1909 a new census-registration law was passed, requiring all Koreans to register a surname.
Today clan origins, once deemed an important marker of a person’s heritage and status, no longer bear the same relevance to Koreans. Yet the number of new Park, Kim and Lee clans is in fact growing: more foreign nationals, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipinos, are becoming naturalised Korean citizens, and their most popular picks for a local surname are Kim, Lee, Park and Choi, according to government figures; registering, for example, the Mongol Kim clan, or the Taeguk (of Thailand) Park clan. The popularity of these three names looks set to continue.
Official was stripped of role in anti-discrimination review after helping church group oppose reform of laws
PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 2:58pm
Jennifer Ngo firstname.lastname@example.org
A top official at the equality watchdog who helped members of his church to oppose reform of anti-discrimination laws has damaged the credibility of the body, its chairman said.
Josiah Chok Kin-ming was stripped of his role in a review of the laws after it was reported that he organised members of his church to make submissions to the consultation to counter those by gay-rights supporters.
The consultation is being conducted by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).
“The credibility of the EOC will more or less be affected,” said its chairperson Dr York Chow Yat-ngok on Friday.
Chok has not been fired and an internal EOC investigation is ongoing.
“[Chok’s] responsibility was to explain and answer questions at consultation sessions and not to analyse collected suggestions. Other colleagues have taken over his work,” said Chow.
The public consultation will not be affected, he said. EOC officials should refrain from actions which are against the commission’s principles and might adversely affect public perception of the watchdog, Chow added.
Earlier this week Apple Daily revealed that Chok had spoken at a church forum and handed out sample letters of opposition to reform.
The reports left gay rights groups outraged, and one called on Chok to quit.
The EOC last month launched a three-month consultation on proposals to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of marital and residency status.
It did not include legislation against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation – subject to a separate study in which Chok is not involved – though gay rights groups had made submissions in support of some of the proposals.
Chok reportedly told churchgoers that the draft laws discriminated against church groups. He later told reporters his comments were his own opinion and did not conflict with his role at the EOC.
Commission convenor Dr John Tse Wing-ling said Chok’s behaviour was “inappropriate” and that there was an obvious conflict of interest.
“A top official’s job is to collect public opinion, not to create and to organise opinions,” Tse said.
Lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan said she would raise the matter at the Legislative Council’s constitutional affairs committee.
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 July, 2014, 2:59pm
Agence France-Presse in Beijing
Chinese officials painted a rectangular running track at a stadium as they rushed preparations for a visit by their superiors, state media reported on Tuesday.
Pictures posted online showed the running surface had the normal oval shape, but the white lines marking out each runner’s lane were angled at 90 degrees.
Internet users leaped on the revelation.
Watch: Hurried Chinese officials rush out rectangular running track for superiors' visit
“Leaders, this is the newly developed right-angled running track,” wrote one poster on Weibo, imitating the tone of a lower-ranking Chinese official reporting to his superior.
“We have become the first country in the world to have such tracks! I believe [Chinese athletes] will outperform other countries’ [athletes] after scientific training on such a running track!”
China National Radio described the forestry administration stadium in Tonghe county, in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, as having “rectangular tracks” around the football pitch.
Curves in all the wrong places: Officials painted the rectangular running track as they rushed preparations for a visit by superiors. Photo: SCMP Pictures
“It is difficult to turn and easy to fall,” local resident Gong Xiaona told provincial television programme Newsnight.
It quoted a member of staff at the stadium as saying the previous track had become worn down by long use.
“The current tracks were laid in a rush to deal with the visit by some provincial leaders,” he said.
“We ourselves feel it’s ugly. But who can change it if our bosses don’t care?”
It is not unknown for local officials in China to come up with eccentric ideas to curry favour with their bosses or cope with inspections.
A publicly-funded orphanage in Jieyang in the southern province of Guangdong had its facilities transformed into government offices and dormitories, according to previous state media reports.
When provincial authorities mounted an inspection last year, social welfare officials attempted to borrow orphans from a nearby temple.
PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 September, 2014, 1:26pm
Stuart Lau email@example.com
Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan told a court today that he had given up to HK$8 million to a young woman from Shanghai with whom he had an "intimate" relationship.
Giving testimony at the city's biggest graft trial, Hui admitted showering the woman with several million dollars, and gifts such as handbags and watches.
“In the year 2008, and the one or two years that followed, I gave some money to a female friend in Shanghai,” said Hui, who was a non-official member of the Executive Council at the time.
“I had not known her for a long time,” he said. “When I first met her, it was in a social gathering in Hong Kong.”
Hui’s counsel, Edwin Choy Wai-bond, asked: “Is this Shanghainese female acquaintance a young woman or a married woman?”
Hui answered: “Maybe I would say, a young woman.”
Choy then asked: “Is it right to say your relationship with her was at times intimate?”
Hui agreed. He said he sometimes met the woman in Hong Kong and sometimes in Beijing. But they did not meet too frequently, he added.
Hui recalled giving her “several million” Hong Kong dollars.
“I do not recall the exact amount. But I think at least seven or eight million,” he said.
Some of the money was for her to buy property while some of it was used to make investments, the court heard.
“I did give her some gifts,” Hui added.
“Like bags and watches and that type of thing?” his lawyer asked. Hui answered yes.
“You were generous in giving her those gifts as well?” his lawyer went on.
“For the value of those gifts – of course it was not low. But I would not say they were luxurious items either,” Hui said.
Hui, 66, faces eight charges related to bribery and misconduct in public office.
He allegedly received HK$27 million in cash from the property magnate Kwok brothers, also standing trial, in return for being their "eyes and ears" in government.
Thomas Kwok, 62, faces one charge of conspiracy to offer an advantage to Hui and two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
Raymond Kwok, 61, faces four charges, including one with Hui of furnishing false information. SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, 67, and former Hong Kong stock exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang, 63, each face two charges.
All have pleaded not guilty. The trial continues before Mr Justice Andrew Macrae.
US study linking the Asian staple of budget eating to an increased risk of heart disease has sparked a passionate South Korean defence
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 August, 2014, 3:30am
Instant noodles carry a broke-college-student aura in North America, but they are an essential, even passionate, part of life for many in South Korea, Hong Kong and across East Asia. A US study on their health effects has caused the emotional heartburn among their loyal consumers.
The Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital study linking instant noodles consumption by South Koreans to some risks for heart disease has provoked feelings of wounded pride, guilt, stubborn resistance, even nationalism among South Koreans.
Koreans eat more instant noodles per capita than anyone in the world. Many of those interviewed vowed not to quit. Other noodle lovers offered up techniques they swore kept them healthy: taking Omega-3, adding vegetables, using less seasoning, avoiding the soup. Some dismissed the study because the hospital involved is based in cheeseburger-gobbling America.
"There's no way any study is going to stop me from eating this," says Kim Min-koo, a freelance film editor who indulges in instant noodles about five times a week. "This is the best moment - the first bite, the taste, the smell, the chewiness - it's just perfect."
The heated reaction is partly explained by the omnipresence here of instant noodles, which, for South Koreans, usually mean the spicy, salty ramyeon that cost less than a dollar a package. Individually wrapped disposable bowls and cups are everywhere: internet cafes, libraries, trains, ice-skating rinks. Even at the halfway point of a trail snaking up South Korea's highest mountain, hikers can refresh themselves with cup noodles.
Elderly South Koreans often feel deep nostalgia for instant noodles, which entered the local market in the 1960s as the country began clawing its way out of the poverty and destruction of the Korean war into what's now Asia's fourth-biggest economy. Many vividly remember their first taste of the once-exotic treat, and hard-drinking South Koreans consider instant noodles an ideal remedy for aching, alcohol-laden bellies and hangovers. Some people won't leave the country without them, worried they'll have to eat inferior noodles.
" Ramyeon is like kimchi to Koreans," says Ko Dong-ryun, 36, an engineer from Seoul, referring to the spicy, fermented vegetable dish that graces most Korean meals. "The smell and taste create an instant sense of home."
Ko fills half his luggage with instant noodles for his international business travels, a lesson he learned after assuming on his first trip that three packages would suffice for six days. "Man, was I wrong. Since then, I always make sure I pack enough."
The US study was based on South Korean surveys from 2007-2009 of more than 10,700 adults aged 19 to 64. It found that people who ate a diet rich in meat, soft drinks and fried and fast foods, including instant noodles, were associated with an increase in abdominal obesity and LDL, or "bad," cholesterol. Eating instant noodles more than twice a week was associated with a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome, another heart risk factor, in women but not in men.
The study raises important questions, but can't prove that instant noodles are to blame rather than the overall diets of people who eat lots of them, cautions Alice Lichtenstein, director of the cardiovascular nutrition lab at Tufts University in Boston.
"What's jumping out is the sodium [intake] is higher in those who are consuming ramen noodles," she says. "What we don't know is whether it's coming from the ramen noodles or what they are consuming with the ramen noodles."
There's certainly a lot of sodium in those little cups. A serving of the top-selling instant ramyeon provides more than 90 per cent of South Korea's recommended daily sodium intake. Still, it's tough to expect much nutrition from a meal that costs about 80 US cents (HK$6.20), says Choi Yong-min, 44, marketing director for Paldo, a South Korean food company. "I can't say it's good for your health, but it is produced safely," he said.
About 1.85 trillion won (HK3.9 billion) worth of instant noodles were sold in South Korea in 2012.
By value, instant noodles were the top-selling manufactured food in South Korea in 2012, the most recent year figures are available, with about 1.85 trillion won (HK$13.9 billion) worth sold, according to South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
China is the world's largest instant noodle market, although its per capita consumption pales next to South Korea's.
Japan, considered the spiritual home of instant noodles, boasts a dazzling array. Masaya "Instant" Oyama, 55, who says he eats more than 400 packs of instant noodles a year, rattles off a sampling: Hello Kitty instant noodles, polar bear instant noodles developed by a zoo, black squid ink instant noodles.
In Tokyo, 33-year-old Miyuki Ogata considers instant noodles a godsend because of her busy schedule and contempt for cooking. They also bring her back to the days when she was a poor student. Every time she eats a cup now, she is celebrating what she calls "that eternal hungry spirit".
In South Korea, it's all about speed, cost and flavour.
Thousands of convenience stores have corners devoted to noodles: Tear off the top, add hot water from a dispenser, wait a couple minutes and it's ready to eat, often at a nearby counter.
At the comic book store she runs in Seoul, Lim Eun-jung, 42, says she noticed a lot more belly fat about six months after she installed a fast-cooking instant noodle machine for customers.
"It's obvious that it's not good for my body," Lim says. "But I'm lazy, and ramyeon is the perfect fast food for lazy people."
Devil. Whale. Chlorophyll, Violante, Treacle — you name it, Hong Kong probably has someone who goes by it. Inquisitive, enterprising and...