Shaw Brothers Studio owes the late martial arts master and film director Kar-leung Lau millions in bonuses dating back more than 30 years, Lau’s widow, Mary Jean Reimer, said at the Kar-leung Lau funeral.
Reimer, also known as Yung Jing-jing, gave a short eulogy and pledged HK$1 million to start a charity in Lau’s name, to help struggling martial artists and actors.
The three-hour service, held at Hung Hom’s Universal Funeral Parlour under sombre skies and heavy rain, was attended by a range of celebrities, including actors Lanna Wong Ha-wai and Adam Cheng Siu-chow. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who learned kung fu from a disciple of Lau’s master, also attended.
Several of Lau’s apprentices and disciples, clad in kung fu attire emblazoned with the Chinese character “Lau”, provided security as a large press pack formed outside the ground-floor main funeral hall as early as 10am.
Reimer claimed that Shaw Brothers Studio had failed to pay Lau guaranteed bonuses from overseas box offices for more than 30 years and wanted to get the message out to the public. She said the studio had insisted on “investing” the funds for Lau. The statements were confirmed by members of the procession, including lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung.
Reimer said the money could have amounted to “something like HK$10 million now, if not, at least HK$5 million” and added that Lau had never once complained. She urged Sir Run Run Shaw to be generous and to support the charity.
The eulogy was followed by a white lion dance, a performance typically held for deceased martial arts masters.
Shortly after noon, Lau was carried out in a black casket to the crematorium at Po Fook Hill cemetery in Sha Tin.
“He was sick with [cancer] for a long time but he really toughed it out all those years,” actor Nat Chan Pak-Cheung said after the service. “It is a great loss to the industry.”
Actor and former stuntman Chin Ka-lok, who apprenticed with Lau at the age of 10, said his sifu, or teacher, had “watched him grow up”.
“He was very willing to teach us new things and we would always go to him for advice on martial arts choreography,” said Chin, who last saw his sifu six years ago.
Lau died late last month at age 76, after a two-decade struggle with lymphatic cancer. He is survived by his wife, brother, two sisters, a son and six daughters.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Shaw studio ‘owes late kung fu star millions’.
Photo Above: The service for Lau Kar-leung at the Universal Funeral Parlour in Hung Hom. Lau’s wife (left) Mary Jean Reimer walks behind their daughter Jeanne Lau. Photo: Edward Wong