One of Leung Chun-ying's cabinet members says she believes allegations about him made by a former ally, and she knew about them before they were revealed.
Executive Councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee told ATV's current affairs programme Newsline last night that she was not "too taken aback" by the claims made by Lew Mon-hung.
Once a staunch supporter of Leung, Lew told iSun Affairs magazine that the chief executive had lied about his handling of illegal structures at his home on The Peak. He also claimed Leung had reneged on a promise to appoint Lew to the Executive Council. Lew, who is being investigated by the ICAC in an unrelated case, has yet to produce evidence to back up his claims.
Leung appeared on Newsline a week ago and dismissed Lew's allegations as "nothing new, nothing true".
Last night, Ip told programme host Michael Chugani: "Mr Lew is very entertaining. His account is very entertaining. We all have a good laugh over it.
"It is very graphic, very detailed … so, a lot of people believe him," said Ip. "Actually, he told me and other people the same stories before," she said, adding: "I won't go around regurgitating other people's stories."
Asked if she believed Lew, Ip said: "It is probably true. It is not for me to determine whether it is true or not. But I, like other people, believe what he said."
She agreed that Leung could have more strongly denied the allegations. "But [Leung] also has to take into account one very important consideration - not to upset [Lew] too much."
And on running in the 2017 chief executive election, Ip said: "I would not rule out anything." She had intended to join the race last year, but she failed to secure enough nominations.