We examine the academic qualifications of Francis Choi Chee Ming, founder of private toy company Early Light and Vice Chairman of Regal Hotels (0078) and Town Health (8138).

Choi's choice of degrees
21 November 2007

An eagle-eyed reader draws our attention to the educational pedigree of Francis Choi Chee Ming, the chairman of Early Light International (Holdings) Ltd, which was in the news recently for selling lead-tainted toys to Mattel.

Mr Choi first joined the listed company scene when he became Non-executive Vice Chairman of Regal Hotels International Holdings Ltd (0078) on 18-Aug-04. Mr Choi was also appointed as Non-executive Vice Chairman of Town Health International Holdings Ltd (8138) on 7-Feb-06. The Regal announcement and subsequent biographies from the two companies state that he holds a "bachelor degree in business administration from Sussex College of Technology in the United Kingdom" and a "master degree in business administration from the Newport University in the United States of America". It also stated that he holds a Ph. D in Business Management from Harbin Institute of Technology in the PRC.

Sussex College of Technology Limited is not an accredited UK institution and has no connection with the accredited University of Sussex. It looks more like a one-man company. It has a rudimentary web site which includes another business, Bruce Copen Laboratories. It's registered office is in Tower Hamlets, London, where several other companies have their office, including Anderson Ross Accountants and Business Advisers and Anderson Ross Financial Services Ltd.

In the USA, institutions of higher education are accredited by agencies recognised by the US Department of Education (USDE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The only current "Newport University" we could find in the USA is this one in Newport Beach, California. It is not an accredited institution. Its web site says it is "approved" by the Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education of the State of California, but that Bureau was shut down on 1-Jul-07 and was not an accreditation agency recognised by CHEA or USDE. Newport University is not in the CHEA database or the USDE Database. There is no information on its web site about its faculty members.

As for Harbin Institute of Technology, that is a well-established institution, but Mr Choi's earlier "degrees" bring into question whether this was an honorary degree or something he actually earned on an academic basis. We'd love to read his doctoral thesis.

The highly-qualified Dr Choi was appointed by the Chief Executive of HK as a Council member of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on 1-Aug-04. His appointment was renewed on 1-Apr-07 for 3 years. He was also appointed as a Justice of the Peace on 1-Jul-05. He's also been a member of the Customs and Excise Service Children's Education Trust Fund Committee since 1-Aug-06, and is a CPPCC National Committee member.

© Webb-site.com, 2007

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