Xinhua News Agency

Attempt to lure brother from Xinhua

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 4:12pm

The colonial government offered Szeto Wah's younger brother a large sum of money and a passport in the 1970s to 'defect' from his senior post at the Hong Kong branch of the Xinhua News Agency, according to Szeto Wah's memoir.

Szeto Keung, who worked in Xinhua's foreign affairs department at the time, said the offer was made in 1973 when his brother spearheaded the first territory-wide teachers' strike over a government decision to cut salaries.

The next year, Szeto Wah founded the Professional Teachers' Union, which blossomed into one of the city's biggest trade unions.

Szeto Keung said The Star, a now-defunct English-language newspaper, labelled his brother a communist during the strike, a move that he believed was politically motivated and directed by the special branch of the colonial police.

The retired Xinhua official said Pedro Ching Kwok-hoo, then a senior officer in that unit, met his eldest brother, Szeto Ming, in 1973. 'Ching offered to give me US$200,000 and a British passport to lure me to defect from Xinhua,' he said. 'My eldest brother, who was a school principal, told Ching to stop circulating the rumour that Szeto Wah was a communist. Otherwise, he would disclose what Ching said during the meeting.'

Ching became senior assistant police commissioner in the mid-90s and retired in 1998.

'My elder brother [Szeto Wah] chose to play down his link with me... because of the political sensitivity,' Szeto Keung said.