Ties turn sour for Leung Chun-ying and his former staunch supporter, Lew Mon-hung, who has now spoken out against the chief executive, accusing him of lying and breaking his promises.
In a seven-page interview published by Chinese-language weekly magazine iSun Affairs on Thursday, a disheartened Lew alleged Leung had actually been lying in his explanations on the scandal involving the illegal structures found in his houses.
In particular, the claim Leung made in May 2011 that two building experts and one lawyer found no illegal structures during an inspection by them was pure fabrication, Lew said.
“There was no such thing as two professionals and a lawyer inspecting his houses. This is 100 per cent non-existent! That is his fabrication,” said Lew, who is known for outspokenness.
His latest accusation has dealt yet another blow to the embattled chief executive who has been plagued by the unauthorised works scandal and other controversies involving his cabinet members. His maiden policy address delivered two weeks ago did little to help his flagging popularity.
A Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Lew was a staunch supporter of Leung during the chief executive election in March last year. When Leung’s arch-rival, the then frontrunner Henry Tang Ying-yen, was embroiled in a similar illegal structure scandal, Lew circulated leaflets outside Tang’s home in Kowloon Tang calling on the former second highest official in Hong Kong to withdraw from the race.
During a televised election debate, Leung attacked Tang on the illegal structure scandal, describing it as “a problem of integrity”. Leung subsequently won the top job after Tang lost support from the committee of Beijing-backed electors who choose the city’s leader due to the scandal.
But it was revealed in June last year – shortly before Leung took office – that there were also illegal structures in his houses on The Peak. Leung explained he had been negligent in spotting the structures and an examination by two professionals and a lawyer found no illegal structures when he first moved in more than 10 years ago.
Lew said that when the scandal struck Leung, he telephoned Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, who is Leung’s aide and now Exco member, asking if it could be arranged for the three witnesses to confirm that inspection publicly.
Lew quoted Cheung as saying to him: “Mon-hung, this is a headache here because the two professionals and one lawyer do not exist. There was only a professional who examined the house when CY bought it 10 years ago. The examination did not involve illegal structures, and what’s more, the person has passed away!”
Lew was previously hotly tipped to become an Exco member, but has yet to receive any government appointment under Leung’s administration.
In the interview, Lew accused Leung of breaking two promises to him. One was to appoint him an Exco member and the second – as a substitute after the first promise failed – was to give him an exclusive recommendation in the CPPCC membership.
“He promised to appoint me an Exco member. He failed to fulfil it. He then promised to recommend me exclusively in my bid for another tenure in the CPPCC. He also failed to fulfil this,” Lew was quoted as saying.
“I find this person really is a man of empty words, a man of no integrity,” he said.
Lew said that in December 2011, Leung verbally promised to appoint him a member of the Executive Council, if Leung was elected chief executive four months later.
On May 28, last year, after Leung was elected, Leung refused such an appointment on the grounds the Exco confidentiality requirement did not suit Lew because of his outspokenness. Leung then offered him a substitute – to recommend Lew exclusively to the central government for another term in the CPPCC.
Six months later, Lew got hold of a copy of a letter sent from the Chief Executive’s Office, he said. The letter mentioned that Leung had written to Peng Qinghua, then-director of the central government’s liasion office in Hong Kong on August 16 and had recommended someone other than Lew for the CPPCC seat.
Lew alleged that when he asked Leung for an explanation, Leung replied that “he [the man who got Leung’s recommendation] wrote the letter himself and forced me into signing it!”