Speculation rife as top official quits
Jimmy Cheung and Denise Hung
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Wilson Fung Wing-yip has quit the civil service just a month after taking the job.
The move sparked speculation he may have ambitions to become a politically appointed principal official in the next administration.
Mr Fung, who is expected to take over as head of the Hong Kong Productivity Council, said his resignation was for 'personal reasons' unrelated to his work.
Asked whether he would become a politically appointed official he said: 'It is too far away for me [to think about].'
Candidates for such jobs have to quit the civil service.
A senior administration officer said there would be huge demand for political appointees, with the chief executive introducing two tiers of the posts in his new term. Mr Fung's background was suitable, the source said.
Mr Fung said he decided to quit last Friday and this Friday would be his last day in the government he had served for 20 years.
Mr Fung took up his home affairs portfolio a month ago, overseeing anti-discrimination, human rights, gambling and civic education.
His swift departure, described by an official as 'unusual', has aroused concerns of further delays to the anti-race discrimination bill.
The resignation has brought the number of administrative officers leaving the government to five this year.
Figures show 48 administrative officers left their postings between 2002 and August 2006.
A spokeswoman for the Civil Service Bureau confirmed Mr Fung had tendered his resignation.
Mr Fung would not comment on his future job, saying he would take about six months' leave first, but sources said he was to become director-general of the productivity council.
A council spokeswoman said the new executive had yet to be identified. She would not disclose the pay package for the job.
Stephen Lee is acting director.
The Hong Kong Productivity Council is a multi-disciplinary organisation to promote increased productivity and the use of more efficient methods throughout Hong Kong's business sectors.