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  • Nov 1, 2014
  • Updated: 8:51am
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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This article is now closed to comments

honger
Dear AL,
Bravo for the series of articles. For me, this is a good wake-up call for all those naive people who have never heard of Orwell's Animal Farm. Since this Orwellian nightmare is still unravelling, could you please check how many junkets CX have offered in the past to EXCO/Legco/ Airport Authority members?
Keep up the good work!
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.
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?
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 !
chanaa
both cx & the lawmakers are despicable. Why has there been no investigation / icac yet ? Mr.Ho is the worse considering hisseat in Airport Auth. Whiter than white huh ?
aplucky1
this is absolutely 100% a crime
to not investigate and prosecute is yet another crime
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.
honger
I feel sorry for you, pslhk, since you obviously can't see the issues involved here.
It is high time the Airport Authority/Govt stop pandering to CX. ALL our Asian neighbours have budget airlines - Singapore has more than 3 - not to mention Europe and the US. The advent of budget airlines will bring much benefit to HK.
donniemcm
So shameless, paying after enjoying the free trip and because you have public pressure won't wash away your greediness.

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