BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Brunei's Chinese community leader Lau Gim Kok passed away here at home on Sunday morning at the age of 98.
Born in 1920, in China's Fujian province, Lau came to Brunei for a living when he was only 18. He earned his reputation as Brunei's biggest retailer and farmer, and is the chairman of Brunei's Hua Ho Department Stores, Hua Ho Machinery Farm and Hua Ho Cultural Foundation.
Lau is friendly to China and supports peaceful cross-strait reunification. He was enthusiastic about charity and advocated the development of Chinese education in the sultanate. In May 2008, he returned to Xiamen, Fujian province, to worship his ancestors.
"Lau Gim Kok is committed to safeguarding and developing the friendly relations between Brunei and China and enjoys great prestige in all Bruneians," Lim Teng Guan, director of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Brunei, told Xinhua.
"He is an example for the Chinese here. We feel very sad for his death. We have lost one of our flag-bearers," he added.
For his contribution to Brunei, Lau Gim Kok was awarded by Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah the Pehin title in 2004, the highest honorary title for Brunei civilians, which made him one of the four Chinese civilian Pehins in Brunei.