Lawyer friend may have advised C.Y.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 June, 2012, 12:00am
 

A leading solicitor may have advised chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying on his luxury house on The Peak, which has been found to have a number of illegal structures.

Peter Sit Kien-ping is believed to be one of the professionals mentioned by Leung who had given him advice, according to a legal source.

Leung claimed he had hired an 'authorised person' to confirm the property was clear of irregularities when he bought it in 2000, and last year he said he consulted two 'authorised persons' to confirm there were no illegal structures, but he refused to identify them.

Sit is the senior and founding partner of the law firm Sit, Fung, Kwong & Shum.

According to the Law Society website, he is a non-council member of its committee on standards and development. Sit's practice covers a wide range of civil matters including conveyancing and land issues.

In response to the inquiry from the South China Morning Post yesterday, Sit said Leung was his friend and client.

But the lawyer would make no further comment due to legal professional privilege, which protects all communications between lawyers and their clients from being disclosed without the permission of the client.

'[The fact] I do not comment does not mean I deny or I admit anything. As a lawyer, I would not disclose anything due to legal professional privilege or I could be subject to disciplinary actions [by the Law Society],' Sit said.

'I know Mr Leung, who is my client and my friend. But I would not specify what legal issues I have handled for him.'

Meanwhile, both pan-democratic and pro-government lawmakers have continued to criticise Leung for his illegal basement and other unauthorised building works at his HK$500 million home on Peel Rise.

A group of Labour Party activists protested outside the house yesterday. Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan said he would press for a debate on the saga at Wednesday's Legislative Council session. 'Hongkongers just cannot believe Leung is ignorant of the illegal structures in his home,' he said.

Lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, from the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, also questioned whether Leung had lied.

But Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, who ran Leung's election campaign and is hotly tipped to join the Executive Council, tried to bear some of the responsibility for the scandal.

'During the run-up to the election, our office did not ask any experts to check for illegal structures at Leung's home,' he said.

'That was out of our negligence, and my negligence.'

Cheung said that the issue was 'absolutely not a matter of personal integrity' and he appealed to the public to give Leung an opportunity to serve Hong Kong for the next five years.

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In square feet, the size of CY Leung's illegal basement. •Leung bought the house, said to be worth HK$500 million, in 2000

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