• Mon
  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 3:41pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 August, 2013, 3:23am

Time for Cathay to come clean on junket

Something strikes me in a complaint letter sent to us courtesy of Cathay Pacific's corporate affairs chief, Chitty Cheung.

"For many years," Cheung wrote, "It has been Cathay Pacific's practice to invite guests to events such as aircraft delivery trips and new destination launches."

Now that's the story we seem to be missing, because we still don't know much about those lavish junkets, sorry, I mean business trips. Readers need to have a better understanding of how far they date back, how frequent and costly they have been and who was on previous trips. My guess is that past sponsored travellers would be a who's who in Hong Kong.

I suspect the reason no one anticipated the furore over the trip to France is because such trips have been, as Cheung implied, common and nothing out of the ordinary for Cathay. That may be why the 10 holidaymaking lawmakers and an Executive Council member, Cheng Yiu-tong, felt hard done by.

Of course, things are supposed to be business as usual - until it is not.

In the letter, Cheung said the trip was not a junket because that implied "an extravagant celebration that had no clear purpose other than to entertain". No doubt in Cheung's exalted business circles, two business-class round-trip tickets to France - the lawmakers had either a spouse or a child with them - costing north of HK$100,000 and an extended stay in a luxury hotel don't count as extravagant. To a guy like me, that qualifies as the trip of a lifetime.

Cheung said it was really a business trip to inform because "aviation is an important industry in Hong Kong that employs thousands of people and is a pillar of the local economy". You got that right. It's precisely because of the importance of national airlines - and CX is Hong Kong's equivalent - that they are almost always heavily regulated. Hong Kong's aviation industry is no exception.

The reverse of regulation is sometimes called "regulatory capture", the co-opting of regulators and people with policy influence through usually legitimate or legal means to manipulate regulatory outcomes. That line must not be crossed, otherwise it's called corruption.

Now is not the time for Cathay to be angry with the media, but to re-examine its practice.

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This article is now closed to comments

dynamco
JUNKETEERS April 25 2012
Edward Yau on yet another overseas trip as Environment Minister took a junket group of freeloaders to Copenhagen to study their incinerator, then on to UK to ride a hybrid bus & then visit a Scottish whiskey distillery. Perhaps he should return to Denmark now & suggest to CY Leung that HKG follows Denmark’s paradigm waste handling policy shift ? Better still, just issue him a one-way ticket.
cphpost.dk/national/environment-minister-calls-increased-recycling-and-waste-sorting
THE COPENHAGEN POST
Environment minister calls for increased recycling & waste sorting
Environment minister’s new strategy would force residents to take a hands-on approach to reducing Denmark's carbon emissions
The environment minister, Ida Auken has penned out a new strategy that may mean a "paradigm shift" in the way we handle our rubbish.
In a few weeks, the government will present a strategy that will require households to sort their waste into several bins rather than sending the majority of it to the incinerator. Incineration plants are highly efficient in turning all kinds of waste into energy, but with that comes carbon dioxide emission levels that exceed the goals set under the Kyoto Protocol.
In 2011, a study by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), revealed that incineration meant that Denmark emitted 70,.000 more tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly than originally thought & the nation was exceeding the carbon dioxide goals under the Kyoto Protocol.
pslhk
Copy of comment for Frank C’s column
-
You’re less than right
for if truth be known
an overwhelming majority
could be "pro-establishment"
-
That’s why many enjoy strolling the gauntlet
of scmp comments and tag dance
among toothless howling wolves *
that flock around the city’s english newspaper
-
However, to borrow whymak’s remark:
the wise won't follow the fool’s agenda
-
* Don't confess being thw by which I DON'T mean you
-
THW are those witless fools who
incapable of responding to arguments
turn to focus on commentator the person
seeking comfort in silly conjectures
impala
Oh dear.
honger
Can Cheung disclose who was involved?
dynamco
you will see them all tomorrow no doubt in this newspaper
chuchu59
Again, the Government has failed in its role as a gatekeeper. So what if CHENG had declared the trip beforehand. Does the declaration make the acceptance legitimate? Does the Government think there is no problem with legislators accepting the offer. Doing nothing about it after receiving the declaration implies so.
pslhk
I can recall four remarks similar to your
“We still don’t know about something
that’s common among the better informed”
-
Maragret N after playing Lemmon’s out-of-towner
and discovered her real British status complained
“Why isn’t my British passport really British”
-
Christina L while lost in lavishing praises
on the colonial government's environmental conscience
stated: “I didn’t realise that Victoria Harbor in 1995 was a Big sewage”
-
adc A in Benny T’s playwright attempt on today’s Mingpao
“Why I didn’t know about the right not to cooperate?”
-
The problem of slow learners is that overwhelmed by their “discoveries”
they became revolutionary trying to overtake evolutionary developments
or ongoing remedial works others started long time ago
-
Clamors over CX’s French tour remind me of a fellow
who won’t allow his daughters dating
fearing that once they go out,
he will become a grandparent
-
Talking about BT who asked AL to lunch
I won’t stupidly ask “Why AL, the journalist and not me?”
“Would AL, who isn’t influential enough for pompous circumstances
be so grateful for the lunch to start lauding BT?”
-
BT’s “play" is run juxtaposition to the articles of Cheung Mk and Rob Cy
The accelerated aging effect of BT’s self-cloning production is clear
What’s interesting is the quality of these three pieces
that they seem in inverse relation to the writer’s qualifications
Caveat Emptor HKU paper chasers

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