David Li wins support for new Legco tilt

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am

Banker David Li Kwok-po, who resigned from the Executive Council on Saturday nearly two weeks after settling an insider-trading case in the US, has been backed to continue his role as a financial-sector lawmaker.

Exco member Bernard Chan said: 'Mr Li is a very suitable representative for the finance sector. If he is interested in running again, it should be something for the constituency to decide.' He said Mr Li had done nothing wrong.

'I actually find it unfair. Indeed, he has done nothing wrong. He shouldn't shoulder any responsibility. I think this is purely a question about the next term. This is something for him and the voters to decide,' Mr Chan said.

He said he regretted Mr Li's decision to leave Exco, as did fellow member Laura Cha Shih May-lung.

Amy Yip Yok-tak, chief executive of DBS Bank (Hong Kong), said Mr Li had made contributions as a banking representative in Legco and, based on the information available, would support him running for a new term.

Some legislators said it would be up to Mr Li's constituency to decide if he should step down from the Legislative Council.

Mr Li refused to comment further on his case yesterday morning when he left Hong Kong. Confronted by reporters at the airport, he only said, 'Thank you', before rushing into the VIP entrance. He resigned from Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's cabinet amid growing pressure for him to quit.

Mr Li has agreed to pay US$8.1 million to settle insider-trading allegations in the US. It was alleged in a US Securities and Exchange Commission complaint filed to a court that Mr Li, while a board member of Dow Jones & Co, learned of a then- secret News Corp offer and illegally tipped off close friend Michael Leung Kai-hung, who then bought about US$15 million worth of Dow Jones securities.

Legislator Anson Chan Fang On-sang said Mr Li's re-election would be a matter for him and his constituents to decide. The former chief secretary said his resignation from Exco was a brave and considerate decision.

Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said Exco work involved a lot of confidential information. If Mr Li gave the impression that he could not keep information confidential, resigning from Exco was a right step to take, she said.

Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng, chief executive of Standard Chartered (Hong Kong), declined to comment on whether Mr Li should run in the next Legco poll, but said he had made many contributions to the commercial sector and society.