Donald Tsang

Integrity? Tang camp just doesn't get it

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 March, 2012, 12:00am


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Many tycoon supporters of Henry Tang Ying-yen are sticking with their scandal-plagued candidate to be the next chief executive. They fail to see what all the fuss is about. It's an open secret that many rich men in Hong Kong keep mistresses and have children with them. Not a few have large illegal structures or have annexed public space for private roads leading to their palatial homes.

But it's not just the upper crust that does these things, Tang's friends rationalise - everyone does it in Hong Kong. Cross-border workers keep mainland mistresses. Middle-class neighbourhoods are full of unauthorised structures. Given this, you can begin to see why Tang's backers are sticking to their guns. This is despite widespread outrage that they are ignoring public preferences as their candidate's popularity plummets.

Tang and his diehard supporters - who include many of the city's leading tycoons - just don't get it. Their public standing has diminished. Former monetary chief Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, for example, said Tang had learned a lesson. Cheung Kong Holdings vice-chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi said recent events did not change his view.

It's true that everyone makes mistakes, but it's how you own up that distinguishes an honest person from a dishonest one. Tang has paraded his wife twice now to clean up his mess - first for his infidelity and most recently to take the blame for building an illegal basement in her Kowloon Tong house. He should have confessed the basement problem and rectified it when Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen - after admitting to an illegal structure in a Mid-Levels flat he owns - told ministers to check their own properties and clean up any illegal units. Tang did nothing and then obfuscated, as he still does with his extramarital affair(s), including an allegation of a child born out of wedlock. How can anyone lead Hong Kong without trust or credibility?