Hong Kong actor bounces back after battle with rare disease

Damaging one's genitals may rank among most men's worst nightmares.

And poor Raymond Wong has just had a bit of a scare.

The 39-year-old Hong Kong actor, one of broadcaster TVB's crop of leading men, made headlines in September when he was diagnosed with a rare disorder called Behcet's Disease.

It causes inflammation in the blood vessels throughout the body, resulting in painful skin rashes, lesions, mouth and genital sores.

Although the disease is not known to be linked to impotence, the Hong Kong media had suggested it might have affected the actor's sexual functioning.

Wong, who was in town last Friday to promote new drama series Overachievers, reassured his local fans - albeit indirectly - that he was back in the pink of health and had no problems in that department.

"The truth is, Behcet's Disease could inflame the body's organs, like eyes, gut, intestines and heart," explained the father of two young sons, aged three and one, in Mandarin.

"I'm lucky that most of my vital organs did not get affected, especially my heart.

"Right now, I've recovered. I'm taking Chinese medicine regularly to keep my health in check."

When quizzed if he would have another child to prove his virility to the curious public, Wong shook his head firmly.

"My wife (art director-stylist Kaka Mok) and I have decided that we won't have another kid, but it's not because of that," he said. "Our hands are already full with two little tots in the house."

When Behcet's Disease struck him, Wong described the feeling as "being rendered helpless".

"Initially, I thought my symptoms were signs that I had tonsillitis, so I didn't think too much of it," he recalled.

"Back then, I was preparing for my challenging role in (period drama) Cheung Po Tsai. Filming was commencing soon, there were many fighting and action scenes in store for me."

But his condition deteriorated and Wong was hospitalised for two weeks.


According to Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, between 1978 and 2000, only 37 Hong Kongers were diagnosed with Behcet's Disease.

He had to pull out from the production of Cheung Po Tsai - fellow TVB actor Tony Hung stepped in at the last minute to replace him.

Local audiences can catch him in his role as a scheming villain in Overachievers - a 30-parter about corporate power play on TVB First (StarHub Ch 860), StarHub TV's video-on-demand channel dedicated to TVB dramas.

Wong said that his ordeal with Behcet's Disease has made him appreciate his family a lot more.

His sons were too young to know the full details of his illness.

"My elder child thought I had a bout of flu," said Wong with a laugh.

"I remember the first day I came home from hospital. I was standing in the carpark, waiting for my wife who had gone to fetch him from school. When I saw the radiant look on his face, I cried."


This article was first published on Dec 08, 2014.
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