• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 3:27am
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 August, 2013, 4:08am

For pan-democrats, a Paris flight is a long way to fall

Michael Chugani says the pan-democrats' junket to Paris has exposed their hypocrisy in accusing others of official misconduct


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

Here's my tip to Franklin Lam Fan-keung: follow the stench. It'll lead you to a bunch of hypocrites. You can then look them in the face and say you forgive them even though they weren't man enough to say sorry for having wronged you. You have the moral authority to take the high ground now.

Lam became a punching bag for pan-democrat legislators when phoney claims surfaced that he had used insider information as an executive councillor to profit from property sales. His accusers demanded an ICAC investigation. They made themselves out to be saints, saying those in public office should be whiter than white. It turned out Lam indeed was; the Independent Commission Against Corruption cleared him of any wrongdoing.

But it turns out his accusers are anything but saints. They were among eight legislators who took a six-day trip to France with their family, compliments of Cathay Pacific. Talk about conflict of interest. Didn't pan-democrat legislators blast former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen for taking free rides on the private yachts and planes of tycoons? Didn't they slam former ICAC commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming for taking his girlfriend to official dinners? And here they are, going on luxury junkets with their family.

Cathay opposes a licence for competitor Jetstar Hong Kong but Democratic Party member Albert Ho Chun-yan, one of the pan-democrats who took the free trip, insisted there was no conflict of interest since the government, not the Legislative Council, issues aviation licences. Wake up and smell reality. Would Cathay fly legislators to Paris and put them up in top hotels for no reason? Why doesn't the airline do that for families in subdivided flats who deserve such junkets far more than our overpaid legislators?

Some of those who accepted the junket justified it by saying they needed to understand the impact of Cathay buying Airbus planes. What nonsense. Even if that were true, what's it got to do with their wives and children? Why include them in the junket?

Legislators have no direct role in granting aviation licences but they have loud mouths. If they shout out loud enough against a licence for Jetstar, the government would at least have to listen.

Legislators have no direct role in granting TV licences but that hasn't stopped them from slamming the government for delaying the granting of licences to three applicants. If the applicants lavished free trips to Paris on the pan-democrats - who all support the early granting of new TV licences - would that not be a conflict of interest just because legislators can't issue the licences?

The Paris trip has made the pan-democrats reek of double standards. They have since apologised but that means nothing. They used the ICAC as a tool to smear political foes. The ICAC has cleared Lam and former Exco member Barry Cheung Chun-yuen. But the jury is still out on Tsang and others. They should do what their pan-democrat accusers had done to them: march to the ICAC headquarters with TV news cameras rolling to demand an investigation into the junket.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host. mickchug@gmail.com


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That is why I always say "pan-damns" just try to take advantage of government official, blaming them for their suspected conflict of interest, suspect bribes taking and hoarding farm lands! What about themselves? Never have any self reflection, suffering from a wishing thinking that they can act and speak like a saint. Please, "pan-damns", you make me puke!
Isn't offering an advantage also a crime? ICAC should investigate CX and find out how many other govt officials they have bribed over the years.
John Adams
Good work dynamco !
It does not need a group to go marching to ICAC HQ with political banners to start an investigation into this.
If it looks like a fish, and smells like a fish , and tastes like a fish ... then almost certainly it IS a fish, even though its name is "examine a new CX Airbus (for economy or business class seating ?!) " = junket.
(Funny how this is happening during Bo Xili's bribery trial )
If the ICAC is truly INDEPENDENT they should by now be monitoring all this SCMP reporting (and the comments !) and start their own unilateral investigation : both into all the law-makers and also CX itself for "giving / receiving an advantage without the permission of one's superiors". Note that the law-makers only reported the junket after the fact - they did not ask permission from their superiors ( = LEGCO ? The CE ?? ) before the fact. As to who authorized this at CX, only the ICAC can discover.
But FAR more important : how long has CX been doing this and who else in LEGCO / Govt has been the recipient of CX junkets ?
Come clean - or else risk being investigated by the ICAC. You have been warned.
Mr Chugani, spot on ~ "The Paris trip has made the pan-democrats reek of double standards. They have since apologised but that means nothing. They used the ICAC as a tool to smear political foes. The ICAC has cleared Lam and former Exco member Barry Cheung Chun-yuen. But the jury is still out on Tsang and others. They should do what their pan-democrat accusers had done to them: march to the ICAC headquarters with TV news cameras rolling to demand an investigation into the junket."
The boards of Cathay Pacific and The Airport Authority( A.A.) ( who tagged along) should be investigated for bribery.
This was a two-pronged criminal conspiracy by both Cathay and the A. A. to influence members of LEGCO into supporting and paying for an unneeded 3rd runway and to prevent competition for Cathay from new budget airlines.
All the heat is on the Legislators but what about the corruption perpetrated by Cathay and the A.A.?
Survey reveals Hong Kong’s demand for LCCs
Near 70 per cent of Hong Kong residents surveyed recently said they intended to travel on a low cost carrier (LCC) in the next 12 months despite LCCs only representing six per cent of all flights into and out of Hong Kong International Airport.
The research, conducted by the Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong (HKUPOP) on behalf of Jetstar Hong Kong, also confirmed the ongoing appetite from local residents for more low cost travel with 84 per cent saying they would welcome more LCCs to the market.
Key findings of the research:
• 79% of Hong Kong people said they will fly more if the fares are lower
• 81% of people said they would spend more on hotels and activities if they saved on their airfare
• 84% welcome more home-based LCC airlines
• Nearly 70% of Hong Kong people said they intend to travel on an LCC in the next 12 months
Jetstar Hong Kong CEO Edward Lau said the research indicated strong flow on benefits of more low cost carrier travel with 81 per cent of respondents saying they would spend more on their hotel and holiday activity if they could save on the airfare.
“By making air travel more accessible to more people, not only will we see more people travelling more often, but we will see people spending more money at their destination including those visiting Hong Kong,” Mr Lau said.
The group photo shows 28 freeloaders
16 women & 12 men of which 2 are obvious HKAA 3rd runway lobbyists
Assuming all took one partner that leaves the academic Who is the Baptist University freeloader ? EIA supporter ?
1 Albert Ho Chun-yan
2 James To Kun-sun
3 Kenneth Leung
4 Ip Kwok-him
5 Elizabeth Quat
6 Felix Chung Kwok-pan
7 Chan Kin-por
8 Ma Fung-kwok
9 Cheng Yiu-tong Chairman HKFTU
www.ceo.gov.hk/exco/pdf/Cheng_Yiu-tong_e.pdf declared 09 AUG 2013 for France trip 17-21
AIRPORT AUTHORITY former chief executive
10 Billy Lam Chung-lun
11 Huen Wong
12 Abraham Shek
13 Andrew Leung
Unnamed academic from Baptist University
14 HU Da-fok RU
The whole lot should pay the full costs to charity and those that do not should be further named and shamed.
found two more Legco members on the trip than the 8 members reported by the press
So, add Abraham Shek & Andrew Leung to the list
now 10 Legco members, 1 Exco member, 2 HKAA lobbyists, 1 unnamed HK Baptist U academic + equal number of family members = 28 freebies
(I wonder if CX charged them the fuel surcharge they hit the rest of us with ?)
Excellent, dynamco. So, HKers, what are we waiting for? ICAC too?




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