CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Former chief executive faces corruption charges

HONG KONG (UCAN): The former chief executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang Yan-kuen, is now the highest ranking official in the special administrative region to be charged with and prosecuted for misconduct in public office.

Tsang appeared at the Eastern Magistrates Courts on October 5 to hear two charges laid against him by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

“My conscience is clear,” Tsang told the media after he was released on $100,000 bail.

His wife, Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei, stood at his side. She called him a man of honesty and integrity.

“We longed to live a simple and tranquil life after retirement, staying away from politics. To the contrary, pitifully, we find ourselves dragged in a whirlpool,” she said.

Tsang is publicly known as a Catholic and daily Mass goer. After he finished his education at Wah Yan College, he became a salesman before entering the civil service. He retired as the chief executive in 2012.

Tsang now faces one charge of failing to disclose negotiations over the lease on a luxury apartment in Shenzhen, which was owned by a major shareholder of a media company, which had been applying for a broadcast licence in Hong Kong.

When allegations first surfaced in 2012, Tsang said he paid the market price for the apartment and that it was rented as a retirement home, because it was located near a church.

The other charge is that he failed to disclose his relationship with the architect who was decorating his apartment, when he proposed that he be considered for an award.

Tsang’s prosecution comes as a surprise to many people, considering the original investigation began in 2012.

Officials in Beijing and Hong Kong had also been quoted recently as implying that the chief executive is above the administrative, judicial and executive branches of government.

Joseph Cheng, a retired professor of political science, said Tsang’s case demonstrates that the local judicial system will investigate suspected crimes no matter how high you rank.

“It took three years for the investigation, partly because it involved mainland China,” he said. “The public will be concerned if the judiciary feels pressure not to operate justly and fairly when dealing with cases like this.”

The chief secretary, Carrie Lam Cheng Yeut-ngor, urged the public not to jump to conclusions. She reminded the public of his decades of service, saying, “I will pray for him every day.”

The current chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, told media the decision to prosecute Tsang was made independently and did not involve any political consideration.


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