High-rise party time peak

Apart from Prince Charles, the Prime Minister and some of his predecessors - along with various foreign secretaries, plus Richard Branson, of course - the handover is drawing a posse of celebrities to Hong Kong.

The guest list for tomorrow's handover ceremonies has not yet been made public, but among celebrities coming to Hong Kong, or rumoured to be on their way, are Liza Minnelli, Sean Connery and Mel Gibson plus family. Jeremy Irons, China's top star Gong Li, and film director Wayne Wang are in town to put the finishing touches to their movie Chinese Box, in which Irons plays a journalist reporting the handover.

Some people are working their passage, including Grace Jones, Boy George and Banarama, appearing at a giant rave at Kowloon's Hi-Tech Centre, while Lisa Stansfield and Wet Wet Wet are billed at a concert at Happy Valley racecourse.

Private balls and handover parties are too numerous to count, with Hong Kong's billionaires competing to stage the most lavish event in the most eye-catching setting, such as the Peak or the tops of the tallest skyscrapers. Ong Chin Huat, social editor of the Hong Kong Tatler, says he will be "party-hopping - I couldn't guess how many".

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