Tang denies knowledge over Tamar bug

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 January, 2012, 12:00am


Former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said he had no idea why legionella bacteria had been found at the new government headquarters in Admiralty, while his chief-executive-race rival Leung Chun-ying said someone should be held responsible if human error was found to be the cause. Both contenders for the city's top job were questioned about the potentially deadly contamination at the site yesterday.

Tang, who was chief secretary when the complex was designed and built, was asked whether he should be accountable for not ensuring adequate hygiene measures, but he said he knew nothing about the incident. 'There was nothing wrong with the building when I left the government in September,' he said.

'At that time, a few bureaus had moved in [to the new headquarters], and there were no problems.

'I am not clear about anything that happened after I left.'

Leung said someone should be held responsible for the scandal if any mistakes had been made. 'I don't know the situation very well ... but that is the spirit of the system of accountability,' Leung said.

Twelve water samples taken from the complex have tested positive for Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria that causes the potentially fatal legionnaires' disease.

The education chief, Michael Suen Ming-yeung, from whose private office one of the samples was taken, was admitted to hospital with what was later diagnosed as legionnaires' disease. Health inspectors have yet to find the cause of the contamination in the new building.

Meanwhile, Tang's earlier affair with an unnamed woman again surfaced in a question about his credibility during a radio interview.

Tang said he had repented over the matter, and that the media and Hongkongers would monitor every move he made if he were elected chief executive. 'There is a Christian saying that once you have made a mistake it is vital you repent and reform,' he said, adding that his wife and family had forgiven him.

'I believe Hongkongers are generous. Once a person has the courage to admit fault, they will be forgiven by the community,' Tang said.