A businessman thwarted in his bid to buy HMS Invincible for £5 million to convert it into a school in China is now turning his sights onto HMS Ark Royal.
Kin Bong Lam, chairman of the Wing Wah restaurant empire, had hoped to save the former pride of the Royal Navy from the scrapyard with an audacious plan to ship Invincible to China.
He submitted a sealed bid of around £5 million to the Ministry of Defence for the aircraft carrier, which played a key role in helping to win the Falklands War against Argentina in 1982.
But the businessman was disappointed to receive a letter informing him that his bid had been rejected in favour of a Turkish rival. The vessel will now be towed to Turkey to be broken up following its £2 million sale.
But Kin Bong Lam’s wife, former Midland Businesswoman of the Year Dorian Chan, revealed the Ark Royal was now a possible target.
“It is disappointing about HMS Invincible, but there’s nothing we can do about it. But with the Ark Royal being decommissioned, we may now put a tender in for that.
‘‘We would have similar plans, maybe in a couple of years time, when it becomes available. Before it comes up for auction, they would have to make sure that all the military stuff has been removed.”
In December the Ark Royal returned to its home port of Portsmouth for the last time prior to its decommissioning.
The Birmingham-based business tycoon had originally wanted to buy the Invincible through his South China company Sunway Yachts and ship the carrier to China for renovation.
Kin Bong Lam, whose Wing Wah empire has seven restaurants across the West Midlands, also runs import and export, yachting and property investment businesses in China.