Family and friends attend funeral of writer Jin Yong in Hong Kong

Red-rimmed eyes marked the send-off on Tuesday (Nov 13) morning for late Chinese gongfu novelist Louis Cha Leung Yung, better known by his pen name Jin Yong.

Cha, one of the most prolific writers who counts former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping among his fans, died at the age of 94 on Oct 30 at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital surrounded by his family.

Family members and close friends, including famous food critic Chua Lam and acclaimed director Ann Hui, were present at the Hong Kong Funeral Parlour in North Point.

The hearse headed to Lantau island's Po Lin Monastery, where the body will be cremated.

The hearse heading to Lantau island's Po Lin Monastery, where the body will be cremated.‚Äč
Photo: The Straits Times

Cha, a newsman and novelist, was born in 1924 in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang and moved to Hong Kong in 1948.

He set up the Hong Kong paper, Ming Pao Daily News, in 1959.

Together with Axe Brand Universal Oil founder Leung Yun Chee, he also set up Shin Min Daily News, which was first published in Singapore on March 18, 1967.

Cha's first novel, written in 1955, was an instant hit with readers, who were drawn to his works because of the colourful characters and values of courage, integrity and honour highlighted in the stories.

The renowned writer went on to pen 14 more swashbuckling gongfu fantasies (15 in total) before putting his pen down in 1972 with The Deer And The Cauldron. His most popular trilogy was The Legend Of The Condor Heroes.

Views are divided when it comes to the literary value of these works, even though they are very popular - more than 300 million copies have been sold globally.

His works have also been widely adapted into television series, movies, comics and even video games.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.