Shaw Vee King, director of Shaw Organisation, dies at 73

Mr Shaw Vee King was an avid sailor, scuba-diver and fisherman.
Mr Shaw Vee King was an avid sailor, scuba-diver and fisherman.PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

Mr Shaw Vee King, director of film distribution and cinema chain Shaw Organisation, died last Thursday at age 73.

The Shaw family did not issue an official statement on the death nor state the cause, but a spokesman confirmed that he died peacefully at home on that day.

He is survived by his wife Linda and three children - sons Mark and Howard and daughter Nicola.

Mark, 47, is Shaw Organisation's executive vice-president.

It is understood that Howard, 46, the former executive director of the Singapore Environment Council, and Nicola are not directly involved in the operations of Shaw Organisation.

The late Mr Shaw's father, Mr Runme Shaw, came to Singapore from Shanghai in 1926 and with brother Run Run, started a film distribution and cinema business here. The business grew to include the amusement parks New World in Jalan Besar and Great World in Kim Seng Road. From the 1940s to the 1960s, the company's Malay Film Productions unit produced more than 160 films, many of them featuring musician and film-maker P. Ramlee and which are regarded as classics today.

Mr Shaw Vee King worked in film production at Shaw Studios in Hong Kong, under his uncle Run Run, before returning to Singapore in 1981. He led the redevelopment of the former single-screen Lido Theatre in Orchard Road and its building, Shaw House. He also expanded the chain's single-cinema buildings to multiplexes in the 1990s.

The chain invested in Imax large-screen technology and today has three three Imax cinemas - at Shaw Theatres Lido in Orchard Road, Shaw Theatres JCube in Jurong East and Shaw Theatres Waterway Point in Punggol Central.

Today, Shaw Organisation runs a property arm and eight cineplexes.

The charitable arm of the organisation, the Shaw Foundation, has, since 1957, given hundreds of millions of dollars to schools and medical charities.

Mr Shaw was known to be an avid sailor, scuba-diver and fisherman.

In 2007, he and six other prominent Singaporeans, including Zouk club founder Lincoln Cheng, were detained for 14 days by the Indonesian authorities after Mr Shaw's yacht, the Sea Shaw, was said to have crossed into Indonesian waters without the proper clearance.

He sat on the boards of organisations such as the Cinematograph Film Exhibitors Association, a grouping of cinema companies, and was chairman and later adviser to the National Fire And Civil Emergency Preparedness Council.

He was awarded the Public Service Star in 2004.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2017, with the headline 'He grew Shaw from single screens to multiplexes'. Print Edition | Subscribe