Tsang blames ambiguities for Lau's oversight

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 October, 2010, 12:00am

Embattled executive councillor Lau Wong-fat has once again received backing from Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

Affirming the Heung Yee Kuk chief's integrity, Tsang blamed ambiguities in the government's system for the declaration of interests for Lau's oversight.

He said the system's problems had been rectified. 'The Executive Council has a very strict declaration system, which is not bad compared to those overseas,' Tsang said. 'I totally understand people's special expectations on the ethics on executive councillors and senior officials.'

The defence was made despite Lau's repeated failure to disclose fully his commercial interests and land ownership in his position as an Exco and Legco member. Over the past few weeks, Lau has been revealed to own or have interests in 724 properties or plots of land - more than half previously undisclosed - as well as other business interests.

Tsang said that because there were ambiguities in the Exco declaration rules, which require members to declare their ownership in companies and also the transaction of properties by those companies, Lau had misunderstood the system and had made an oversight.

On allegations that Lau abused inside information to make material gains, Tsang said: 'We have reviewed the discussions in the Executive Council on land policy. Lau has declared his interest every single time and did not make any omission.'

'We will also look at whether there are any ambiguities in our declaration system so that we can clear things up and avoid any grey areas.'