Lesson for all public figures from the KTV scandal

Not only has the conduct of two delegation members raised questions about how seriously Beijing loyalists take their mainland visits, it may also undermine the perception of other delegations to the capital

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 May, 2016, 11:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 May, 2016, 11:39pm

When politicians and professionals sign up for official visits overseas, they should be fully aware that they have a mission to fulfil. They are expected to be held accountable for what they say and do as part of the delegation. Conduct and behaviour that deviate from the objective should be avoided.

Little wonder the KTV scandal involving two members of a “One Belt, One Road” delegation to Beijing has become a hot topic in and outside political circles. Damien Shea Ying-fai and Raymond Yung Kai-man of the China-Australia Legal Exchange Foundation reportedly spent their evenings in a karaoke bar with unidentified woman after finishing their official visits during the day. Both later apologised for the incident.

KTV scandal: China-Australia Legal Exchange Foundation member apologises for Beijing party session as two more quit

The photos showing the two posing intimately with the women came as a stark contrast to the stern warning delivered by delegation chief, who quoted a top mainland official as saying that Beijing was ready to deal with Hong Kong’s pro-independence forces with “guns and cannons”. The news went viral on social media and became the subject of ridicule.

The scandal came at a time when the belt-and-road strategy is being heavily promoted. Not only has it raised questions about how seriously Beijing loyalists take their mainland visits, it may also undermine the perception of other delegations to the capital.

KTV scandal: two members quit foundation after being caught frolicking on Beijing trip

This is not the first time public figures on overseas trips have stepped out of line. In 1999, two DAB members of the former Provisional Regional Council admitted consorting with prostitutes in a mainland karaoke bar. They later resigned from party positions. The chief executive is right in saying that every individual needs to watch his or her behaviour no matter where. The expectation is even higher when the individual is on a mission of public and national interest. Shea and Yung had to resign from the foundation immediately and have had some public posts suspended for the time being. The lesson is as much for the duo as for all public figures.