Plot thickens in 'triad' probe
Colleen Lee and Simpson Cheung
A rural leader has now admitted lining up a dinner with the campaign officers of chief executive contender Leung Chun-ying - a meal that has left suspicions of triad involvement clouding the March 25 election.
Kam Tin Rural Committee chief Tang Ho-nin backtracked on remarks he made on Sunday to the effect that he had neither organised nor attended the February 10 dinner, at which at least one guest was suspected of having triad links.
An investigation into the controversial dinner is widening after more attendees approached the Independent Commission Against Corruption to offer information. And the combination of initial stories, subsequent versions, claims and counter-claims of who sat where and when is adding to the mystery.
Lew Mon-hung, a Leung nominator who was one of the guests, yesterday refuted a media report alleging he arrived at the restaurant in Lau Fau Shan with the controversial businessman at the heart of the scandal, Kwok Wing-hung, nicknamed 'Shanghai Boy'. Lew's driver also said he had driven only Lew.
Tang told Commercial Radio: 'It was Lew Mon-hung who asked me to help invite rural leaders who sit on the Election Committee for dinner to talk about [Leung's] platforms.
'It was San Tin Rural Committee [chairman] Man Chi-sheung who booked the table. I told him how many guests would come and he made the booking.'
Man declined to comment.
Tang's latest account also differs from Lew's earlier version. Then, Lew said he had asked Heung Yee Kuk vice-chairman Lam Wai-keung to set up a dinner after the Lunar New Year with New Territories Election Committee members. Lew added that Lam later told him he had helped set up the meal but would not attend. Lew said he then called Tang about making arrangements.
Lam, responding to Lew's comments, denied having lined up the dinner. It also remained unclear who invited Kwok, when he came and where he sat.
Rural leader and Election Committee member Leung Fuk-yuen earlier said Kwok was at the restaurant right at the start of the dinner, but Tang yesterday said Kwok had turned up in the middle of the meal.
Tang said no one had invited Kwok and that he believed Kwok knew Lew. He added that Kwok had left after chatting for a while.
While Tang said Kwok sat between him and Leung Fuk-yuen, yet another attendee, rural leader Hau Chi-keung yesterday insisted Kwok had sat next to Lew.
Both the rural leaders and Leung's camp deny inviting Kwok.
Leung Chun-ying's campaign director Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, her two deputies, and a Leung supporter, Lew Mon-hung, who all attended the dinner, approached the ICAC and the police of their own volition to give information on Sunday.
Yesterday, Leung Fuk-yuen also visited the ICAC headquarters in North Point. He believed other rural leaders would also go to the commission. 'There have been many rumours in these days. It is necessary for us, as witnesses, to actively clarify the facts with the ICAC,' he said.
Meanwhile, Legislative Council president Tsang Yok-sing yesterday vetoed lawmaker Andrew Cheng Kar-foo's request to convene a special Legco meeting to discuss how to maintain a clear and just chief executive election. In Beijing, Tsang said the issue was not so urgent that the meeting had to take place today.