• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:41am
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

Agree wholeheartedly.
Thank you for your comment, honger
I feel no qualm using my Master and Visa
in trips which I flash AE to gain access to VIP lounges
I pick up Metro, Standard, Headline News …
without having to buy any of their ads and editorial opinions
I’ve more confidence in our legislators
that they won’t feel obliged to tv broadcasters
after enjoying their free programs
Legislators are representatives of their constituents
That’s why you don’t but they do, sit and speak in the legislature
where they have an office where they (supposedly) read consultation papers
and work according to established regulations
Voters can't expect same tretment of a legislator - simple democratic reality
That’s why they and not you
are invited to “education” trips
Trust may not be the issue
but neither is regulation
For legislators who declared
there is no question of violation
Those who doubt legislators' integrity may raise questions
but criticisms must be reasonable and in proper proportionality
Legally, acceptance of the invitation is not a strict liability
Morally, they shouldn’t be denied reasonable doubt
There are in our midst unreliable agitators
those with ulterior motives to stir up troubles
by fabricating unrealistic moral standards
for retrospective application in HK
moral standards higher than they could understand
and can’t be found anywhere in the world
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 ?
Correction: They understand there is a conflict but simply wont admit there is one. In CHENG's case, its worse because he didnt want to pay up. So I ask the CE whether the ICAC should investigate this and if they are not found guilty of anything whether the complainants have to apologise for lodging complaints to the ICAC.
Point missed, Civil Servant (below): tacit become open. A Chinese saying – three-foot ice doesn’t form in a day. Besides, do you take pleasure if we have more collusions now than in the colonial days as your protest may have implied? Are you actually really a civil servant that is telling us the truth? Then, I really worry if you are for your sense of right and wrong. Do you like to take back your comment?
Civil Servant,
Point missed: from tacit to open. A Chinese saying -- 3-foot ice dosen't form in a days.
Besides, are you happily jusifying what we have now? Your understanding or grapsp of right and wrong worries me if you are really a civil servant as your name want us to believe. I suspect, you are one and you are telling us the truth with your experience. Use your real name perhaps.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, said on Thursday it has filed objections to the Air Transport Licensing Authority against giving approval to Jetstar Hong Kong Airways Limited to operate air services out of the city. Cathay said in a statement that the approval of Jetstar’s application, which has not yet been granted, would violate the territory’s Basic Law and undermine Hong Kong’s economy
How about letting CY pay 1 million HKD to charity to clear him clean from his allegations?
'Exco's declartion system stringent' 27-08-2013 Tony Flores reports The acting Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, has said the operation of the interest declaration system within the Executive Council is stringent and healthy.
She said Exco member Cheng Yiu-tong had met all of the necessary requirement before embarking on a Cathay Pacific junket to France more than a week ago.
But the trip led to speculation that there might be conflict of interest and forced many of the legislators who took part in the trip to donate money to local charities as
Mrs Lam said it was up to Mr Cheng to decide for himself whether he should donate money to charity as reimbursement for the trip.
Mr Cheng has already refused, saying he did nothing wrong.
However, Mrs Lam said Mr Cheng would be reminded to make another declaration to Exco, if it were to discuss airline-related issues.
It would then be for the Chief Executive to decide if there was any conflict of interest, and whether Mr Cheng would need to be absent from the discussion.




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