• Sat
  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 6:41am
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 3:46am

Guilty or not, Franklin Lam really ought to resign


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

Public Eye has just one word for Franklin Lam Fan-keung - resign. A leave of absence won't do. We're not saying he is guilty of wrongdoing. An ICAC investigation is still ongoing. But for now, his guilt lies in his own idiocy. It no longer matters if he used insider information as an executive councillor to boost profits from the sale of two flats before new anti-speculation measures kicked in. Nor does it matter if he illegally offered part of the sale price to his property agent. What matters is he is now a tainted man - guilty or not. And Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration is already top-heavy with political baggage. Lam could have easily wriggled out of accusations he abused insider information. Top officials had taken turns to publicly vow he didn't receive such information. But in pleading innocence, Lam overshot his mouth. He said one stupid thing after another - including the now all too familiar excuse of blaming his wife. And when it all didn't add up, he changed his story. It was like a page taken out of the book of stupidity used by development secretary Paul Chan Mo-po in handling his subdivided flats. Too many officials have been caught with skeletons in their cupboards. Heads need to roll.

Lam affair shows exactly why Exco is such a joke

Our top leaders - from C. Y. Leung down - all insist Franklin Lam knew nothing of the property speculation crackdown. We have to take at face value what our leaders say. They said executive councillors were only told of the new measures just hours before they took effect. If true, it exonerates Lam of illegally making millions. But it confirms that Exco - the top advisory body which meets behind closed doors to advise the government on key policies - is just a joke. It is not seeking advice when you tell your top advisers of a far-reaching policy hours before it takes effect. It is asking them to rubber-stamp the policy. Why are we paying Exco members over HK$64,000 a month when all they do is rubber-stamp government policies?

Not just Westerners who are key to HK's survival

Public Eye is fed up with all this nonsense that Hong Kong cannot survive - or will become "just another Chinese city" - without expats. It's racist talk and the people doing it are, of course, mostly expats. And when they say expats they don't mean Singaporeans, Japanese, Koreans, Indians, or foreign-born Chinese, who all play a role in internationalising Hong Kong. They mean just Westerners. Every time the issue of funding for ESF schools arises, they warn that Hong Kong will sink if taxpayers don't serve their needs by pumping money into these schools. How about pumping money into schools for ethnic minorities who have long been shamefully ignored by the government? Or do they not matter in the city's survival? There are plenty examples of "just another Chinese city" on the mainland doing fine without expats. In fact, expats are pouring into them for a piece of the action. Hong Kong's survival does not depend on any one group. We all play a part. So let's stop all this racist talk.


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

We can probably do without the sort of public service that Mr Lam has to offer.
Bitter and twisted drivel as ever.
It's the time of the Raven!
I fully agree that HK does not need expats per se, and certainly should not be biased towards westerners. But who credibly suggested otherwise? There is no need to argue against a position that does not exist, unless you're an idiot or seeking sensationalise. Or both, like Lu Ping. Particularly when lobbing words like racist around, big scary word that one, to be used with care...
Mr Chugani, couldn't agree more on your article, "Not Just Westerners who are key to HK's survival". Expats whoever you are, enjoy the privilege but don't get overdosed on it.
Bravo to the 3rd part. We do not deliberately need an all-Chinese judiciary or any public body. But we certainly do not deliberately require western expats for anything.
After 15 years of self rule, Hong Kong is still very politically immature. Politicians and civil servants still lack political sensitivity. At the same time, the ridicules and media must also share responsibility of today's political scenery as well. The witch hunt is forcing the already incompetent government into one battle after another, rather to allow them to focus on formulating policies that will better serve Hong Kong. We can continue to pick on the government, and I can guarantee that we will find fault in everyone of them.


SCMP.com Account