KCRC officials cast legal eye on book

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2007, 12:00am

Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation chiefs are scrutinising a book by former chief executive Samuel Lai Man-hay - who quit after a management feud last year - to see if any of it is legally actionable.

'Following the release of the book, we are now looking up the content and we will issue a statement if necessary,' KCRC legal adviser Michael Arnold said yesterday.

The Longest Week details a nine-day period of turmoil last year in which Mr Lai resigned a day after shaking hands with Michael Tien Puk-sun, who was then chairman, as a sign of reconciliation.

At a launch ceremony in a Wan Chai bookshop, Mr Lai said he simply wanted the public to know the truth.

'The public, including my colleagues and friends, have the right to know the true side of the story, what exactly happened.'

Asked if the book might lead to a legal battle, Mr Lai replied: 'I do not think much about that. Everyone supports better transparency and the right to know, so I do not think it is a problem.'

Mr Lai, who is doing a master's course in philosophy, said he started writing the book at the beginning of the year.

'I just want to record the story from my perspective. I do not want to comment on the responsibility for the incident and I do not want to influence others' judgment. I want to let people make their own decisions.'

The government said it could not comment on Mr Lai's disclosures. 'Mr Lai's employment was with the KCRC,' a spokesman said.

Two key figures in the book, Mr Tien and Sarah Liao Sau-tung, former transport minister, said they would not read the book.

'It's OK for Mr Lai to tell the big picture,' Mr Tien said.

'But I think it is inappropriate to reveal what people said during closed-door meetings.'

Dr Liao would not comment.

The KCRC operates as a holding company after its railway operations were merged with those of the MTR Corporation this month.