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  • Aug 21, 2014
  • Updated: 12:54pm
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

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.
johnyuan
Point missed, Civil Servant: 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: 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
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.
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.
Dai Muff
The litany of fallen ministers, including a CE, speaks for itself.
John Adams
"... 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 scrutinize a licensing application that might create a rival airline to Cathay or approve the budget for building a third airport runway".
.
Me neither, Mr Lo, even though I have flown CX or KA almost every week for over 25 years and therefore should be an expert on assessing the economy class seats on CX's new airbus (alas, I know nothing about business class seats, still less first class)
And even though my hard-earned taxes help build HKIA , and now subsidize the super-low landing slots that CX and KA enjoy.
And even though now it seems CX wants even more of my tax money to build a 3rd runway and on top of that block Jetstar who might allow me some affordable local holidays.
.
So it's very strange that CX didn't choose me to join with Cheng Yiu-tong to socialize en route to Paris. I would loved to have given him and all the others on the junket a piece of my mind ... like about pigs with their snouts in the trough, the meaning of the word 'advantage' and the importance of the ICAC to HK's international standing as a World City.
.
But maybe that's precisely because why CX didn't invite me or you Mr Lo, just maybe.
dynamco
So 2 x 59k airfares + 30k's worth of hotel, food & coach trips etc = $148k per couple. (more for those who went to Frankfurt & to UK first)
The ICAC must be happy that the legislators have shown them the way forward:
Any person accepting an alleged advantage from now on & who gets found out can just pay 34% of the value of the advantage to an unnamed charity & voila, everything is fixed , no need for courts & charges & wasting ICAC's time. After all they really did not need the CE's consent to take the junket - or did they ? because they never expected to be found out.
Or they can just claim they did nothing wrong accepting the advantage & did not have the funds to repay 34% of the received advantage & that's OK so ICAC can rest easy .
But was it an advantage ? was the trip offered as a sweetener to people who would be voting through different Legco subcommittees on the funding or like decision for the 3rd runway or EXCO deciding on Jetstar's licence or HKEX becoming an LCC or did CX randomly pick these names out of a hat for the freebie ?
See:
www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-26/cathay-pacific-says-entry-of-jetstar-to-hurt-hong-kong-aviation.html
'Cathay Pacific Says Jetstar Entry to Hurt Hong Kong Aviation'

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