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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 8:53pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 August, 2013, 10:51am

Cathay Pacific junket debacle is shamelessness at a whole new level

Poor Cheng Yiu-tong! I don't mean this rhetorically. It turns out the Executive Councillor really is poor. When asked whether he would cough up the money after being exposed for taking a luxury, all-expenses-paid trip to France by Cathay Pacific along with a group of lawmakers, he flatly refused.

He said he did nothing wrong as he had already declared the trip, adding: "I won't give it back, and I have no budget to give it back."

That ought to be the political quote of the year.

The long-time head of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, now its honorary president, Cheng apparently doesn't make enough money to cover the business class tickets for himself and a family member. Or, more likely, the pro-Beijing unionist is unrepentant because he thinks such junkets are perks of the job. The media and other politicians, he said, have for many years accepted junkets. Yes, that's true, though no one ever paid a lavish overseas trip for myself and my wife. No corporation would bother with small fry like me who have no power to scrutinise a licensing application that might create a rival airline to Cathay or approve the budget for building a third airport runway.

No doubt fellow traveller Ip Kwok-him felt the same way as Cheng. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong member said the trip was just for socialising.

Both men take shamelessness to a new level. All but one of the other lawmakers on the trip have promised to pay back a part or most of the costs.

Democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan has been hiding his role as a board member of the Airport Authority and so is most exposed to charges of conflict of interest. But at least he promises to pay back HK$50,000, as does fellow Democrat James To Kun-sun. Elizabeth Quat, another DAB member, would donate part of the cost of the free ticket to a charity. Chan Kin-por, of the insurance sector, would give HK$80,000 to the Hong Kong Red Cross. The Liberal Party's Felix Chung Kwok-pan said he would make a charity donation but didn't say how much. Pro-democracy lawmaker Kenneth Leung, of the accounting sector, has said he would donate HK$100,000.

But independent lawmaker Ma Fung-kwok has said nothing so far.

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hard times !
these days, this Old Hong Kong's views on local issues coincidently are more or less like what Alex Lo thinks ---both Exco.member Cheng Yiu-tong (who has the power to approve issuing a new licence to a rival budget airline of Cathay Pacific and the construction of a third runway which willl be beneficial to the operation of the huge fleet of Cathay Pacific.) and the DAB lawmaker,Ip Kwok-him are shameless enough to a new level indeed.And Albert Ho Chun-yan has deliberately hidden his identity of a board member of the Airport Authority ! So his acceptance of the luxurious offer from Cathay Pacific might have breached conflict of interest ! His inquiry of the Legco Secretariat about whether such hospitality had received any complaints before was meaningless at all ! His donation of just HK$ 50,000 is really too little.Instead, Albert Ho should donate all the expenses spent on him and his spouse during the trip paid by Cathay Pacific to demonstrate his innocence !
daniel18
What if CY Leung takes the free trip this time, I am quite sure the pan-DAMN will take it to the street until Mr Leung step down! How about Mr Leung donates some money to the charity? Not a chance because the pan DAMN will bite him like a crocodile until he die. Jame To and Ablert Ho is a lawyer. They should understand it is not about the question of paying back or not, but it is the misdeed the offenders committed that really matters. So, you two chubbies is not only ill concept but also shallow! Cheng Yui Tong is the same greedy folks. Ablert Ho is taking government money or taxpayer money to rent a office that is owned by his wife. I donno why he still can remain unfazed! They just wanna scramble for as much taxpayer money as they can!
caractacus
Accepting advantages when one is in a conflict of interest is unacceptable and paying back the money doesn't erase the fact.
The worrying thing with these and so many of our so-called leading citizens is they do not seem to have the slightest inkling of the meaning of conflict of interest. Did their parents teach them any ethical values at all? Or are ethics and integrity another mystery to them?
Hong Kong's administration and institutions are filled with people who cannot conceive that holding public office is for any other purpose than to benefit themselves. Abuse is an accepted norm.
One can only hope that Legco votes to allow free competition on the airline routes where Cathay Pacific's cartel rigs sky high air fares at the expense of passengers.
John Adams
Correct !
CX gave an "advantage" to the lawmakers ( and it was a very big one in monetary terms for the lawmakers by comparison with their salaries, but not much for CX to spend)
I assume that CX wants to get "advantages " in return otherwise CX would have chosen a random selection of regular CX economy class passengers to inspect the new Airbus, economy passengers making up the great proportion of CX's customers.
.
So what's CX's advantage ?
1. No budget airlines in HK
2. A 3rd runway at HK taxpayers' expense.
.
Hey ..! That's a mighty big financial advantage for CX, and it seems that the people paying for it are HK tax-payers and air travelers.... LIKE ME !
aplucky1
this is absolutely 100% a crime
to not investigate and prosecute is yet another crime
Dai Muff
What nonsense. The amount of corruption and collusion in this government has rocketed over the past 16 years.
Camel
Meaning paying money will clear you from your sins?
Ok, they declared the trip. But if it where government officials who would have joined this trip and not the Pan-Democrates, they would already have taken the streets for days, yelling and demanding the resignation of those officials. Long Hair would have causing trouble and chaos in the Legco next to throwing fruits.
If they would live up to their own high standard they laid out for the authorities, politicians (mostly from the pro-government) in HK they "monitor", they would have taken the consequences already to resign from their posts, or never dare to critisize another lawmaker from the enemy party for their wrongdoings again.
chuchu59
You arent a small potato. You are intelligent to ask these valid questions. Cathay Pacific needs to answer.
Dai Muff
Well said. That's the simple fact. Cathay Pacific did not pay for this junket because they thought it would have no effect. They clearly had a reason.
babyhenry
o really? Because we all know those property developers and big business only became powerful after 1997. So when Chris patten come back to HK for a short visit, ironically his first stop is to visit his old buddy - Li Ka Shing.

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