• Wed
  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Updated: 5:02pm
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

BIO

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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This article is now closed to comments

Byebye
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."
Byebye
So, with money they can buy back their innocence? Please, they are still accountable for their corrupted act due to greed, deep in their heart. If money can buy back innocense or freedom, then this should be also given to those who were persecuted by ICAC or the Law in the past; a fallen act is a fallen act! They have to pay for their fallen act, but not with money!
fsk999
The whole lot should pay the full costs to charity and those that do not should be further named and shamed.
captam
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.?
johnyuan
As legal matters progress at snail pace in Hong Kong, Mr. Ivan Chu ascendance in March next year is timely selected to be the CE of Cathay Pacific. He will then face the music of the current flying to Paris fiasco for the legislators. He would too under the pressure for Cathay to lobby against Jetstar and lobby for the third runway. Chu being not a British perhaps was the prime consideration for the promotion in relationship of the anticipated tasks. It is highly possible that Cathay this time has no confidence to get what it wishes. Any failure will be unprecedented in its history and should never happened under a full blooded Brit. John Slosar is prepared leaving the kitchen when it is getting too hot. The open collusion of the trip was a handy gamble of no consequence to him.
rpasea
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
Mr Chugani, I agree completely with your column today
.
This reeks and stinks of total , utter hypocrisy at best, and blatant corruption at worst.
(And presumably CX has been "bribing" other law-makers like this for years ! When will all the other law-makers and those in a position to influence government decisions who were also treated to CX junkets come clean ? )
.
It makes Franklin lam look like a saint, and the same could be said of Anthony Leung's car-gate matter several years ago.
johnyuan
Why mess up Boeing and Seattle – a solid corporation and a city that has had been rated as the most livable in US? Besides, US keeps an eagle eye on corporate corruption in the spirit of its puritan origin. I feel so sorry for Paris and the French that their good name in culture must mix up with some business dealing between the Brits and Hongkongers in the city among them. The entire week.
johnyuan
I earned one Dislike over all the facts I stated including picking out the people by nationality and place plus my stated preference – stay away from Boeing and Seattle. So I would guess someone disliked my preference – so why not go to Boeing and Seattle and mess them up. No? Actually I prefer reading what you dislike about? Yes? Don't be just a silent majority.

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