Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am

Choy So-yuk puts life and limbs on the line

We're glad he was only joking, and we're sure Choy So-yuk is too.

Trying to explain her abstention from the vote on the government application for HK$50 million to remove Queen's Pier, which she had previously intended to oppose, Ms Choy recalled an encounter with the chief executive at a Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong dinner on Monday night.

As Donald Tsang Yam-kuen lobbied for her support, the lawmaker - caught between being loyal to her political allies and her belief in heritage conservation - jokingly asked him if he would kill her if she opposed the proposal.

'Donald said he would chop off all my limbs if I did so ... I asked if I could keep my head ... ha-ha.'

As we said, we're glad he was joking.

Court costs don't add up for accountants

Some might have dismissed it as a storm in a teacup, but underlying ripples appear to have been troubling the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants over its clash with accountancy sector legislator Mandy Tam Heung-man, who is seeking a judicial review of her professional group's decision to stop mailing her newsletters to the electorate.

Political Animal has learned that some accountants have recently complained that the institute's decision to hire a Queen's Counsel from Britain to fight the court case on July 24 was 'a waste of money'. There are also rumours that third-party figures have approached Ms Tam, lobbying for an out-of-court settlement, saying the situation could be negotiated.

Passions stirred by a matter of acceptance

We all know the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as applied in Hong Kong, guarantees universal suffrage. So, ultimately, does the Basic Law's Article 45.

But there are some not-so-subtle differences, as highlighted in Legco yesterday when minister in charge of constitutional affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung reminded us that the promise of universal suffrage stems from the Basic Law.

Pan-democrats, including Emily Lau Wai-hing of The Frontier, were infuriated with Mr Lam for stressing that Beijing's acceptance is the key to any proposal to introduce universal suffrage.

They also questioned whether the new electoral college to elect the new chief executive would breach ICCPR if it followed the model of the present 800-member group. 'This proposal isn't in line with the ICCPR, is it?' Ms Lau asked.

Probably not, Emily. It's also probably not what the ICCPR's drafters meant by 'free expression of the will of the electors'.

Membership standards fail to strike a chord

Children of local tycoons have upset not just the prestigious, New York-based Committee of 100 with their establishment of their elite group Hundred Limited in Hong Kong. While the group has received a gentle warning from its New York counterpart about unauthorised use of its name, the youth tycoon group has scared away some peers by setting too-high standards for membership.

'How can we compare with people like Yo Yo Ma in our achievements? I will only consider joining it after it has set a lower goal,' one pro-Beijing figure, who had been approached by the organisers, said.