Born in Hong Kong in 1961, Francis Ng Chun-Yu got his start in the Hong Kong entertainment industry in 1985 by enrolling in the TVB (television arm of the famous Shaw Bros. studio) acting school. After graduating, he began to find work on television, but actually got banned from working on any TVB show (and by default any show in general) after publicly criticizing TVB's casting policies. Ng was then regulated to working on low-budget fluff such as Dragon Fight and Devil Hunters.
Even though many of Ng's early films could not be called "great," he always brought a degree of intensity to his roles that made them worth watching. Combined with his unconventional facial features, Ng became known as one of Hong Kong's foremost actors for portraying villains. Ng seemed to relish being the "heel" off-screen as well, never mincing his words during interviews.
Ng's breakthrough role came in 1996 with Andrew Lau's Young and Dangerous, where he played a villainous Triad named Ugly Kwan. Even though he was killed off in the film, the character proved so popular that he reprised it (with a twist) the same year with Once Upon a Time in Triad Society. In a typically "Francis Ng" move, he shaved his head just as he was becoming known as a sex symbol because (in his words, perhaps as a knock to his Young and Dangerous co-star and rising idol/hair farmer Ekin Cheng) "it's more manly."
After the success of Young and Dangerous, Ng's film output rose dramatically. By 1999, he was doing over ten films a year -- and unlike many of his previous roles, Ng's newer films had him playing a wide range of roles, from family men (Til Death Do Us Part), fantasy swordplay (A Man Called Hero) and romance (Juliet in Love). Of course, he still played his share of gangsters and villains, but these later roles showcased a depth his previous films didn't touch. Especially of note is Ng's role in Ringo Lam's excellent crime thriller Full Alert, where he portrays a thief tortured between going for the big score or going straight for his girlfriend's sake. Recently, Ng has gained international notoriety for his work in unconventional Milkyway Productions crime films like Johnnie To's Too Many Ways to Be Number One.