Dr Simon K Y Lee, MBE, JP (1927-2010) was a successful businessman and a leading philanthropist, whose life story is a Hong Kong story: rising from the ashes of the Second World War, taking charge of a small family business, growing with Hong Kong as it prospered, and giving back to Hong Kong.
Dr. Lee was born and educated in Hong Kong. At the age of 14, war broke out and Dr. Lee fled with his family to mainland China. After the war, Dr. Lee’s father brought the family back to Hong Kong and founded “Sun Hing Hong” in 1945. Dr. Lee assisted his father in the fledging family business with only a staff of four. The experiences and informal training Dr. Lee received in early years stood him in good stead. When his father passed away in 1967, he took over as the head of the business.
Under Dr. Lee’s leadership, “Sun Hing Hong” became the Sun Hing Group of Companies. The company’s original business as shipping agents branched out into different individual companies majoring in logistics, warehousing, transportation, insurance agency as well as investment and real estate in Hong Kong and Vancouver, Canada.
Dr. Lee believed in giving what he got out of the society back to the society, and remained active in public service and philanthropy throughout his entire life. From 1978 to 2006, Dr. Lee served on numerous committees appointed by the Hong Kong government, such as the Port Committee, Pilotage Advisory Committee and the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee. He also served on the General Committee of the General Chamber and was once the Chairman of the Shipping Committee.
One of the community services which Dr. Lee was most enthusiastic about was the Lions Club. Over the course of five decades, he made invaluable contributions to Lionism and once served as the President of the Club, District Governor of District 303, International Director and Board Appointee. Besides, Dr. Lee was very concerned about the education of deaf children and served as the Chairman and President of the Hong Kong Society for the Deaf for four decades. Other charitable organizations founded by Dr. Lee include the Hong Kong Liver Foundation and Hong Kong Digestive Foundation.
In 1985, Dr. Lee established the Simon K Y Lee Foundation to further his commitment to philanthropy.
For his exemplary community services, Dr. Lee was made a Justice of the Peace in 1985 and was awarded the MBE in 1993. In 2006, The University of Hong Kong awarded Dr. Lee the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Sciences.