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  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 5:07pm
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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John Adams
Hum ! If the Court of Public Opinion is anything to go by ( as sampled by the SCMP comments these past few days) Messrs Ho, To and all of the junket jolly group should be locked up for life.
On second thought, that's not sufficient for Ho and To, they being leading pan-dams and now leading hypocrites.
Bring back the gallows !
sipsip1238
The way these ministers "repent" by donating money just emphasis the idea that "money buys everything" in Hong Kong society.
How is it that you can get away from corruption and abusing power via your position and then gain social acceptance again after giving a small donation.
Cheng probably doesn't have a budget to repay, can't expect someone to cut back on their luxurious lifestyle
chaz_hen
"pro Beijing unionist"? Isn't that an oxymoron like "military intelligence" or "business ethics"?
dascaldasf
AL has once again focused on the lawmakers for their 'misdeeds'. Please note that Cathay Pacific is the real devil behind it all! There should be something or someone to deal with them. Haven't you seen the ICAC ads?
pslhk
Readers of Moneypenny
should be familiar with Edinburgh’s Festivals
Five US legislators from both houses
members of the "Friends of Scotland Congressional Caucus”
would visit the party this year at Scottish government's expense
-
After Abramoff scandal, US law requires pre-approval
of any travel by ethics committees.
and limits the duration of trips to seven days foreign and four domestic
-
In the US, junkets are not legally forbidden
According to LegiStor, by mid summer this year
1,363 privately financed trips taken by US legislators
at a total cost of usd $3.2 million to their hosts
-
Junket Jack illustrates the British scene
accompanied by Lord Laird, P Mercer MP …
HK’s CX and French tour is nothing
compared with the norms in UK and US
-
Anglo-American practice isn’t a model
but a factor to balance proportion
which seems lacking in HK
-
If integrity means commitment to principle
thought thru beliefs and not fickle opinions
Who showed integrity
CYt who refused to budge
or those who coughed up when queried?
-
Is acceptance of the tour invitation a strict liability?
Even if we were to set up new regulations
for retrospective application
let’s be clear what they’re
-
For matters like the 3rd runway and cheap flights
how likely would CYt and AH vote CX because of the tour?
-
Again AL, you copy undigested news report
and throw it to left-behind pack
of holier-than-thou, jealous, schadenfreude wolves
then enjoy their howling.
Dao-Phooy
This is what I posted yesterday:
"These people simply do not understand there is a conflict. Too long in the job and too used to the perks without any thought of accountability. I want to thank you for showing your true character - you feel a sense of entitlement because of your position. You are showing the true face of those at the top - you are arrogant and venal. These junkets should stop. The outdated cosy rules must be completely overhauled by Legco. We need to clean house but I fear it's way too late as the system is corrupt."
This incident simply increases the sense of malaise in our Government and in Legco. CY is a total disappointment. He is politically inept for somebody who has eyed the top job for the last 30 years. Legco is full of too many people who postulate but don't have a clue of their responsibilities as legislators - and now these 'old hands' who openly pig at the trough and say they have done nothing wrong! I sincerely hope the public outcry over this will lead to a review of the Lego rules but somehow I doubt it. Donald was caught and shed crocodile tears and instigated a review - Legco members need to do something before they losevwhat little reputation they have left and disappear completely into the sewer.
Hollander323
The Democrats has just won a strategic game, by throwing away $100,000 and a few pretentious apologies in front of the simple minded HK people, they have kicked their political rivals off the MORAL high ground on to the floor. What if this "normal practice" was not reported and gained public concerns, all these politicians would just carry on their business as usual. If you have watched the sequence of events carefully, you would know how the gaming played out!
Hollander323
Still remember Financial Secretary Lam Kam Chung, in the so called car purchase scandal, under the forceful pursuit by the Democrats, Leung paid out a good sum of money for donation together with an apology to the public. That was not the end of the story, he stepped down. What about Ho and To? I believe what is actually on their minds are : in just half a month's time I will get all my money back through salary as a legislator, Cheers!
Hollander323
The Democrats has just won a strategic game, by throwing away $100,000 and a few pretentious apologies in front of the simple minded HK people, they have kicked their political rivals off the political high ground on to the floor. What if this "normal practice" was not reported and gained public concerns, all these politicians would just carry on their business as usual. If you have watched the sequence of events carefully, you would know how the gaming played out!
mercedes2233
Paying back and making donations are suitable gestures, but those involved still show great stupidity in accepting the junkets in the present climate when the public are very critical about ministers' activities. Whatever the result, the people concerned have lost all their credibility with me.

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