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Honkers' interbank games

As charm offensives go, HongkongBank's latest effort may have produced mixed results. The territory's largest financial institution decided to invite its biggest rival, the Bank of China, round to its exoskeleton on Queen's Road for what was dubbed the inaugural Bank of China night.

The evening was calculated to be a wise piece of diplomacy with the Bank of China likely to emerge as the key bank in the newly repatriated Hong Kong. The evening produced some interbank games. A shock result by any standards was HongkongBank's victory at ping-pong, a sport which mainland Chinese have traditionally dominated on the world stage.

A drinking competition ensued in which another defeat occurred, but not without incident. The Bank of China cried foul saying its performance was constrained by the use of Carlsberg beer, which its staff have little experience of drinking. A re-match was organized minutes later with Chinese beer, Tsingtao. But again - perhaps because of their superior weekend training - the staff of the territory's oldest bank prevailed.

As the games came to a close, HongkongBank chairman John Strickland made an off-the-cuff speech that fondly recalled "the good old days" when he first arrived in Hong Kong in the late 1960s.

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