Hong Kong lawmaker accused of sexist remark at insurance forum

Politician's statement criticised by insurance professionals

Hong Kong lawmaker accused of sexist remark at insurance forum

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Insurance sector legislator and Hong Kong Executive Council member Chan Kin-por (pictured above) has been criticised for making an allegedly sexist remark at the Asia Insurance Forum on Dec. 5.

Chan, who was part of a chat session at the forum, said that the “girls in Hong Kong bars are more beautiful,” when listing the merits of doing business in Hong Kong SAR, The Standard reported.

The statement earned the ire of Iris Lun, co-founder of insurance comparison website 10Life, who watched the forum virtually. Lun posted on LinkedIn about the remark, calling it “sexist and insensitive”, and that she was disappointed nobody called it out, having only heard faint laughs from the live audience. She also noted the lack of diversity among the speakers and panellists, who were mostly older men connected to the government.

“Such sexist and insensitive comment should never have happened in any professional setting, let alone an international industry forum,” Lun wrote in her post. “I hope people of all genders can help call out these inappropriate misbehaviours in the future, for the advancement of humanity.”

Many insurance professionals agreed with Lun in her post’s comments, calling Chan’s remark “offensive”, “unprofessional”, and “vulgar”.

Chan responded to the criticism, saying that he was misinterpreted and that he “meant no disrespect” towards women.

Chan said that he made the statement when he was discussing the competition between Singapore and Hong Kong with Financial Secretary Paul Chan, and that he was only quoting some “gentlemen” who said that they preferred the girls in Hong Kong’s bars. However, he did not identify who these “gentlemen” were.

According to Chan, he failed to set the context for the conversation, which caused him to be misunderstood by the audience. 

“Unless there is a problem praising a girl,” he said.

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