PAA may probe aborted trip

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 October, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 October, 1993, 12:00am

THE Provisional Airport Authority (PAA) is expected to produce for its board a report on an aborted trip to Vietnam by two of its senior executives, following an investigation by the Sunday Morning Post.

A highly-placed PAA source confirmed the aborted trip by the PAA's interim commercial and operations director Richard Judy and Chek Lap Kok airport development general manager Ronald Gunther, had become a matter of concern among board members.

''Obviously we have got to ask questions. I am asking for a report from the chief executive officer [Dr Hank Townsend],'' said the senior source.

Legislators are also stepping up efforts to press the PAA for a full explanation of the circumstances under which the trip was aborted. The United Democrats have written to Financial Secretary Hamish Macleod - also chairman of the PAA board - seeking clarification.

Meanwhile, a PAA spokesman confirmed the authority had been interviewing staff in an attempt to find the source of leaked internal documents which triggered the Sunday Morning Post investigation.

Both executives checked in at Kai Tak for a trip to Ho Chi Minh City on September 24, but did not board the plane. The PAA said the executives, who checked in about 1.50 pm for the 3.30 flight ''missed the plane''.

The PAA also said both executives had planned a holiday and paid for their trips, although documents obtained by the Sunday Morning Post showed Mr Gunther's trip had at one stage been approved as a business trip by Mr Judy, a decision apparently overturned at a later date.

The senior PAA source said inquiries would seek to find out how Mr Gunther's original application for a business trip was overturned.

Albert Chan Wai-yip, the United Democrats' spokesman on the new airport project, said in a letter to Mr Macleod that the Sunday Morning Post report had raised many doubts. He demanded to know the system of approval for PAA overseas business trips.

This followed a similar letter from a member of the consultative committee on the new airport, Anthony Cheung, to the director of the new airport projects co-ordination office, Billy Lam.

Mr Cheung said in the letter he read ''with great dismay'' the Sunday Morning Post report.