• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 4:26am
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 June, 2013, 4:35am

Zervos says the wheels of justice are still spinning


Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Kevin Zervos, has written in after reading our recent piece about cases which seem to be taking a long time coming to court.

He writes to say: "I am very concerned by the false impression the article has portrayed of me and the office. These files are not sitting in my in-tray."

The cases we referred to were: the investigation into former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's alleged schmoozing with tycoons, which was initiated by the ICAC in February 2012; the investigation into the affair involving 20 unsold flats at Henderson Land's residential property development at 39 Conduit Road, which was started in July 2010; and Citic Pacific's alleged fraud, which goes back to December 2008.

There has been considerable public interest in these cases. For readers who might be curious about progress in these cases, Zervos offers this update.

He writes that the Tsang case is still under investigation by the ICAC and is subject to oversight by that body's operational review committee.

In his letter, Zervos says: "The Citic case has been the subject of extensive legal proceedings, with the involvement of outside senior counsel and in-house counsel and [the] investigation is being advised upon by the case counsel."

As for the 39 Conduit Road case, Zervos says: "The Henderson Land case has been completed and legal advice has been submitted on it."

Readers will no doubt be reassured to know that the wheels of justice continue to grind.


The Charles Li show

The change in style at the London Metal Exchange (LME) continues under its new owners, our own HKEx. We are in the midst of the annual LME Week, which is being held in Hong Kong for the first time.

Last year, HKEx chief executive Charles Li Xiaojia virtually hijacked the annual dinner in London, with an impromptu speech which started in English and switched to Putonghua halfway through, which was rather disconcerting for some of the old-timers.

There was no holding Li back at Tuesday night's dinner, either. Diners were initially puzzled by the figure that leapt on to the stage done up as a footballer, wearing a David Beckham mask, and who bellowed strangely in English and Putonghua.

It turned out it was Li. What was not immediately obvious was that his kit was a combination of the colours of Britain's Premier League and the mainland's Super League. Get the picture?

There were more antics as he and the LME's chief executive, Martin Abbott, apparently thrust up and down the dragon as a dragon dance team cavorted around the stage. Small wonder Abbott is leaving at the end of the year.


Liquidity crisis? What crisis?

If you listened to Jiang Jianqing, chairman of the mainland lender ICBC, speak to Xinhua yesterday about the recent convulsions in the banking industry, you would never think there was a liquidity crunch, despite impressions to the contrary.

"It wasn't a crisis," he said. "There was a combination of factors that all came together at the same time." A number of corporates needed to pay their taxes, listed companies were paying dividends, and people were withdrawing money to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival. Ah, so that explains all the fuss.


Cathay 'people'

One of our readers was relaxing in the Cathay Pacific business class/first class lounge in Bangkok recently when her attention was drawn to the screen saver video. It's a new video highlighting the airline's recent campaign, focused on the "people" at Cathay. One of the "people" is depicted in the alluring photograph shown on this page, which clearly seems to be a woman. But she is described in the video as Nigel Black, senior training captain. Our reader's interest now aroused, she watched as the rugged features of a pilot came into view. He, too, was described as Nigel Black. So will the real Nigel Black step forward, whoever he or she is?


Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com


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This article is now closed to comments

the fact that Mr Zervos and Christine Loh now engage with the press is a major step forward after the past Government shambles where they deemed themselves in an ivory tower seemingly gilded by external sources
The ICAC has been guilty of poorly prepared cases in the past handing guilty sinners a reprieve through their affordable imported QCs
The definition of Misconduct in Public Office was clarified by an ICAC officer clearly:
"From the outset, we should recognise that conflict of interest is largely a “perception” issue. That is, it is not a matter of whether you think you have done the right thing. What matters is whether the public thinks you have done the right thing. (ERGO Tsang and Tang are toast - meanwhile add Edward Yau to the list)
When determining whether a conflict of interest has arisen, one test we can practically apply is whether you are prepared to discuss the situation openly – the so-called “sunshine test”.
In the last analysis, the onus is on you to prove that you have acted properly.
+ perception is a living issue, public perceptions change over time. A certain act acceptable ten years ago may no longer be acceptable now. It therefore follows that the public official must always stay vigilant about current public perception and expectations, + appropriately adjust his way of dealing with possible conflict between his public life and private life."
Hong Kong should savour the opportunity to hear from its DPP in this way. There never has been, nor is it likely there ever will be another more frank and forthcoming person in the post.
John Adams
Mr Zervos must have an in-tray the height of IFC.
Dare I guess that the 39 Conduit Road / Henderson case is somewhere still at the bottom, even though "legal advice has been submitted on it"
Mr Zervos - if you are reading today's Laisee please pull your finger out.
I stand to win HK$1 Million due to the $1,000 I put down on LSK's bet offer at 1000:1 that there was "nothing fishy" about the 39 Conduit Rd sales.
Nonsense. These matters are confidential for good reasons and the DPP is not obliged to tell you everything about a case, in fact, he is obliged not to reveal details about individual cases unless and until charges are preferred.


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