Nationality row spreads to assistants

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2008, 12:00am

The row over deputy ministers' dual nationality has extended to the lower-ranked political assistants, after one said yesterday he had British citizenship and had no plans to give it up.

Two days after taking up his new post, political assistant to the secretary for security Victor Lo Yik-kee confirmed that he had had the right of abode in Britain since the early 1990s.

'The government has already explained that we do not need to abandon foreign citizenships. [Having the right of abode in Britain] is a fact and I have no plans to renounce,' he said.

On Monday, Mr Lo declined to confirm if he had the right of abode in Britain, and said his boss had not asked him to give up his right to a foreign passport.

The former assistant commissioner of police was the first of the nine newly appointed political assistants - who make up the second of two new tiers of political appointments to the government - to disclose foreign citizenship.

There have also been reports that Jeremy Young Chit-on, political assistant to the secretary for education, holds a British passport but he could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr Lo said his foreign citizenship would not affect his work.

He refused to comment on remarks by former senior government officials about the dual nationalities of political appointees.

Earlier, deputy minister for commerce and development Greg So Kam-leung and the undersecretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, said that they would renounce their foreign citizenships.

Three undersecretaries - Julia Leung Fung-yee, Kitty Poon Kit and Gabriel Leung - have still not decided whether to give up their foreign citizenship.

Members of activist group the Hong Kong League of Justice protested outside government headquarters yesterday, denouncing the chief executive for offering political appointments to people with dual nationality.