Yes, she worked for Tang but she 'broke no rules'
The Information Services Department confirmed that one of its editors has taken up unpaid work to help Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen in what is widely believed to be his 'early bird' campaign for next year's chief executive election.
But the department said in a statement that Denise Hung Hui-king, a Chinese-language editor hired on non-civil-service contract terms, had not breached any regulations.
The statement came in the wake of a hastily conducted investigation that was prompted by media reports in June, that accused Tang (pictured) of having begun an online campaign using civil service resources to promote his candidacy.
A Civil Service Bureau rule prohibits administrative officers, information officers, directorate officers and police officers from participating in such electioneering.
The department said Hung 'had participated in exchange activities not related to her duties outside office hours and in a private capacity'. And it said it believed that there was 'no conflict of interest between the officer's participation in such activities and the officer's official duties'.
However, the department did not specify what Hung actually did or what the 'activities' she participated in were.
It also said that a serving civil servant alleged to have participated in Tang's electioneering had nothing to do with it.
Pan-democrat legislator Cyd Ho Sau-lan said last night that Tang should step down. 'It is in effect saying that he has started electioneering,' she said. 'Why doesn't he quit his present post to prepare for the election in a more proper manner, instead of abusing public resources?'
Ho said the department's statement raised more questions than answers.
'It seems to imply that Mr Tang's website is a private project. If so, will it constitute a conflict of interest if someone is willing to work for him outside work hours, and be unpaid? Will those volunteers be given benefits some time in the future?'
She said she would raise the issue in the Legislative Council on July 13.
Responding to the media reports, Tang issued a statement on June 8 which sidestepped questions about whether he had begun his election campaign. 'From time to time, I gauge the views of various parties on how to make use of information technology to enhance communication with the public, as well as matters involving public perception and personal image,' Tang said.
'I have to stress that in the use of government resources, I have fully complied with the relevant government regulations.'