Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2007, 12:00am

Old news offers nothing new

When it comes to a neck-and-neck election, old news could make a splash - and perhaps hurt. Yesterday saw leading Beijing- and government-friendly newspapers give prominent coverage to a second attempt by a former top graft fighter Alex Tsui Ka-kit (the first was in 1995) to press for a fresh investigation into alleged abuses by former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang over her property transactions in 1993. Tsui, an ICAC deputy director before being sacked in 1993, had questioned her obtaining a 100 per cent mortgage from Hang Seng Bank to facilitate the transactions. He wrote an open letter, published in the Sing Tao Daily on Tuesday, in his capacity as 'a taxpayer'. On Tuesday afternoon, he hired a hotel conference room to respond to media inquiries about his article. He said his archival activities had nothing to do with the Legco by-election on December 2, despite emphasising that Mrs Chan, 'if she seeks to be the people's representative' should clarify the situation which had remained a mystery all these years. More intriguing, media organisations the same day received anonymous e-mails detailing the loans granted to Mrs Chan's daughter recently. A glance at the archives of this newspaper revealed an article in which Mrs Chan explained the mortgage loan was granted after the flat, plus another property, had been offered as security.

Mr Charisma's charms

Barrister and Legco by-election candidate Lee Wing-kin certainly has no pretensions towards acting as a man of the people. When interviewed by Cable TV, Mr Lee did not shy away from questions about his eccentricities - which include singing lyrics when introducing himself at an election forum - saying his outstanding feature was his willingness to break from tradition. 'If my intellectual awareness was the same as that of a normal citizen, I would just be a voter,' he said. He also picked out pictures of himself in university days as an example of how, even then, he had the 'charisma of a natural leader'.

A pressing concern

It's usually the pan-democrats who come out with all guns blazing against government agencies putting unnecessary pressure on the media. Yesterday, it was the Beijing-friendly camp which questioned the security chief over whether police had considered the damaging effect on press freedom after they visited the offices of the Oriental Daily News. Police acted following an anonymous complaint against a democrat-bashing article headlined 'Don't reason with the treacherous gang, just bash them' published in The Sun, a sister daily of the newspaper last year.

Tycoon issues a handbills challenge

Property tycoon Ronnie Chan Chi-chung has challenged The Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing to join a search for the truth, at the University of Hong Kong. At the centre of controversy are claims he made earlier that Ms Lau distributed election handbills of Anson Chan Fang On-sang while giving a lecture. Ms Lau has denied this. In a letter sent to Ms Lau, Mr Chan wrote : 'When I spoke to the HKU class on November 7, more than 60 of them said you spoke on October 24 and distributed the handbills. Are they all telling lies? Or is Ms Lau forgetful? I sincerely invite you to attend the same class to examine the facts ... Anytime you want.'


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