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  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Updated: 10:18am
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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Dai Muff
I note the democrats have at least apologised. The DAB has not.
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.
chuchu59
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.
impala
Yes, shameless. Yes, outrageous. Yes, just the tip of the iceberg.

But when will Mr Lo connect the dots of the sheer endless stream of mini scandals involving corruption, cronyism and self-servicing by our top bureaucrats, and LegCo and ExCo members? When will he see the bigger picture here?

These aren't just isolated cases of shamelessness, of individuals' mistakes or little errors of judgement. These are mere symptoms of the underlying, slowly creeping. ever more pervasive rot called 'f the people, line your pockets while you can.' It is the system, stupid.

And that is why we need more accountability at the polls, more transparency and much more competition in our politics. And yes, the strive for CE (and LegCo) elections based on simple and pure universal suffrage is part of that. Will Mr Lo finally begin to understand that the only way to keep rulers honest is by encapsulating them in a system of constant checks and balances?
likingming
We have not yet reached the levels of collusion & corruptions matching to the standards of India and the Philiphines unless we have universal suffrage in place.
johnyuan
It is a colonial culture of collusion (you-scratched-my- back-and-I scratched yours) that has turned from tacit to shamelessly open. There should be a reform nailing collusion as corruption and to be punished by law. Expand ICAC, get more help.
johnyuan
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?
johnyuan
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?
johnyuan
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?
Dai Muff
What nonsense. The amount of corruption and collusion in this government has rocketed over the past 16 years.

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