We announce the winner of the inaugural Webb-site Award for Ridiculous Titles (WART), and follow a trail which leads to bogus honorary degrees for the dictators of Equatorial Guinea and Gambia. The latter has a special relationship with Hong Kong, one which may surprise you.

You can call me Dr Sir
23 March 2012

There's something rather sad about the way some individuals crave respectability by collecting obscure titles, but we are going to feed that craving by handing out one of our own - the Webb-site Award for Ridiculous Titles (WART). The deserving recipients will be entitled to append the suffix "WART" to their names in all official correspondence.

We can now announce the inaugural recipient of the WART: he is "Dr., Sir Wong Wai Sing", or Dr Sir Wong as he prefers to be called by his friends, ignoring the clumsy punctuation. The list of his accomplishments has gradually grown since he first popped up on 31-Oct-2008, at the tender age of 23, as Chairman of Ming Kei Holdings Ltd (Ming Kei, 8239), having stuffed (along with his older brother) an over-priced coal-mining firm into the GEM shell. His most recent biography was given on 16-Mar-2012 in an announcement by Newtree Group Holdings Ltd (1323).

He claims to hold a bachelor's degree in science from "the Canterbury University, England" which he more recently described as "the Canterbury University, London". There's no such recognised degree-awarding entity in the UK, although there was a degree mill by that name, which had a web site at canterburyuni.net (archived version). The site no longer exists.

On 17-Apr-2009, by then aged 24, he was appointed as non-executive Chairman of TLT Lottotainment Group Ltd (8022), then known as "Argos Enterprise (Holdings) Limited". By then he had obtained a new qualification, a "Master Degree in International Business Administration" from "Stratford University, USA". There is a real accredited place by that name, based in Falls Church, Virginia (and later biographies have given that location). But given the degree from "Canterbury University", you will forgive our scepticism if we wonder whether he in fact obtained his second degree from Stratford International University (archived), another diploma mill later known as Rutherford University. You will see why below.

His biography in the Ming Kei 2011 annual report, which was published on 28-Jun-2011, has nothing new, but by 19-Sep-2011, when he was redesignated as executive Chairman, he had graduated again, with "a master of arts and a doctor of philosophy from the Universidad Empresarial De Costa Rica" (UNEM). That is an entity with a web site on a Polish domain, unem.edu.pl. There is also a domain unem.edu, which has no web site at its root, but there is a site in a subdirectory which has similar content to the Polish one. The site states that the President and Rector of UNEM is a Mr William Zamora, who is also the administrative contact for the unem.edu domain.

But wait, there's more. Dr Sir Wong is also "the Trade Adviser of the Honorary Consulate of Equatorial Guinea to Bucharest Romania". Apparently the Honorary Consul is a "Professor" Eugenio Caligiuri (Mr Caligiuri), an Australian of Italian extraction, and here is his web site and here is another one and another and another and another. How many blogs does a guy need? What a legend. So Dr Sir Wong is his adviser. According to his WAP site, Mr Caligiuri is a "Full Professor" of UNEM, and he has a Phd in law from UNEM.

And there's more! Dr Sir Wong is "the Diplomatic Adviser to the Special Representatives for the People's Republic of China of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP)". So that is where he gets his "Sir". And what on earth is the KMFAP? Well there is indeed a web site for the Sovereign Order of the blah blah at this link. And according to an undated press release, it has opened a representative office in Macau, and a "Special Cabinet Representative", H.E. Ambassador Dr Eugenio Caligiuri, has been assigned to attend the opening ceremony. There he is again - not only is Mr Caligiuri the Honorary Consul of Equatorial Guinea in Bucharest, but he is also an ambassador for KMFAP, and Dr Sir Wong his is Diplomatic Adviser.

The domains KMFAP.net and KMFAP.org are registered to Adam Popper, of E-szamla Zrt, some kind of e-billing system in Hungary. Szamla is Hungarian for bill or invoice. According to the web site, the Secretary General of The Grand Magisterial See of KMFAP is "Rev. Manoel Arruda", whose address is at 7, Pulaski Street, Auburn, NY 13021, USA. That looks like a warehouse and is the address of Magic Circle Music, a heavy metal label, which credits Manoel Arruda for IT Management/Web Management. He's also listed as an assistant engineer on this discography.

For our readers in Equatorial Guinea

So what is the connection between Mr Caligiuri and Equatorial Guinea? Well it turns out  that not only is Mr Caligiuri a full professor of UNEM, but he also doubles as Vice Rector of the "International University of Fundamental Studies in St Petersburg, Russia" (IUFS), another diploma mill. According to its web site, IUFS was "invited by the Government of Equatorial Guinea" on 6-Jun-2009 to award a "GRAND Doctor of Philosophy in International Diplomacy in Defence of Peace" to the President of that country (since 1979), Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. So Mr Caligiuri went to Malabo and bestowed the award on Mr Obiang.

In case you are wondering, Equatorial Guinea has an Honorary Consul in HK. Since 19-Aug-2011, that has been Mr Hui Man Chiu. We know nothing about him.

For our readers in The Gambia

At the risk of destabilising another small African country, The Republic of the Gambia, we have to note that their President (since 1994), Yahya Jammeh, accepted the "prestigious award of the Grand Doctorate of Philosophy in International Relations and Diplomacy" from IUFS, presented to him by Mr Caligiuri, on 2-Jul-2010, and you can read all about it on the presidential web site. The award was for his "outstanding services to humanity" (but not, perhaps, to human rights). The site says that "Dr. Caligiuri reiterated his institution's faith in the Presidential Herbal Treatment Programme". Ah yes, that would be his innovative 3-day herbal cure for HIV/AIDS.

The IPSP and Stephen Lee Kwok Leung

Tagging along with Mr Caligiuri to both Equatorial Guinea and The Gambia was a "Dr Lee Kwok Leung", who is a "senior member of International (States) Parliament for Safety and Peace" (IPSP), an unrecognised accreditation outfit run by one Viktor Ivan Busa. IUFS claims that it is accredited by IPSP, amongst other accreditation mills. IPSP has a web site here. Dr Lee Kwok Leung is also known as Stephen Lee. He has a blog here and he is the Chairman, President, Treasurer and Secretary of Green Dragon Wood Products, Inc, a wood trader based in Kowloon which trades on the US OTCBB. His mum is the only other director - so board meetings must be a hoot. He too has an honorary doctor degree from IUFS and is an honorary professor of it.

Rutherford University, also known as Stratford International University (where Dr Sir Wong might or might not have obtained his second degree) claimed accreditation from IPSP on its web site.

Hong Kong's special relationship with Gambia

Gambia has a special relationship with Hong Kong: although it has no consulate here, Gambia has been the largest single conduit for Chinese mainlanders seeking residency in HK via the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme. In order to qualify for that, apart from making an investment of a certain size in certain assets, mainlanders must have permanent residence in a foreign country. This is so that we can all pretend that mainlanders moving to HK under the scheme are coming with their money from overseas and not bypassing mainland capital controls and treating HK as the Monaco of China that it is.

So they shop around, looking for countries to grant them "permanent  residency" without actually expecting them to go and live there. The scheme was launched in Oct-2003. In an answer to LegCo on 16-Apr-2008, the Government revealed that by 31-Dec-2007, 1,114 Chinese nationals had been formally approved, of whom 414 or 37.2% had permanent residency in Gambia. Ranking behind them were Canada and New Zealand, and then the world's smallest republic, Nauru, with 75. There were also 58 from Niger and 42 from Guinea-Bissau. Incidentally, the Honorary Consul of Niger is Hari Harilela, and the Honorary Vice Consul is his brother, Gary Harilela.

That was the last time the somewhat embarrassing breakdown was published - perhaps David Li Kwok Po would be kind enough to ask the question again. Four years later on 31-Dec-2011, the total number of mainlanders formally approved has mushroomed to 11,022. They account for 84.1% of all approved applicants, with 332 (2.5%) from Taiwan, with 280 (2.1%) from Macau, and 1,474 (11.2%) being nationals from other countries.

© Webb-site.com, 2012

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