Leung Chun-ying, also known as CY Leung, is the chief executive of Hong Kong. He was born in 1954 and assumed office on July 1, 2012. During the controversial 2012 chief executive election, underdog Leung unexpectedly beat Henry Tang, the early favourite to win, after Tang was discredited in a scandal over an illegal structure at his home.
Regina Ip, Joseph Wong call Leung's lawyer letter a mistake
Regina Ip and Joseph Wong say chief executive had better options than sending a lawyer's warning to author of critical newspaper commentary
Two former ministers and a Leung supporter suggested Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was "unwise" to send a lawyer's letter to the Hong Kong Economic Journal over a commentary he claimed was defamatory.
The two former ministers are Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who was secretary for security, and Joseph Wong Wing-ping, a previous secretary for the civil service.
In his commentary published on January 29, Joseph Lian Yi-zheng linked Leung to triad activity, citing comments by former Leung supporter Lew Mon-hung, who accused the chief executive of lying about illegal structures at his home.
Wong said Leung made a mistake by sending the letter to the journal asking for a retraction. "He should have refuted Lian's article publicly before and after sending the letter to the newspaper … Leung will lose points in the eyes of the public and Beijing as his action has triggered a fresh round of controversy."
Wong's former colleague Ip was also tempted to sue people who ridiculed her as "Broom-head", a reference to a hairstyle she had while promoting national security legislation in 2003.
"I regarded it as sexist … and discussed the issue with some women senior officials," she said, but they told her that pursuing the situation would only bring attention to her critics. Ip suggested that "maybe [Leung] was not used to [criticism] … and lost his temper, but if he sought more advice, he would have known he shouldn't do that … criticism is just part of the norm."
One of Leung's backers, who declined to be named, said legal action should be the last resort and Leung should have asked Lian for a clarification first.
"It could trigger public fears about a threat to the freedom of speech, although the letter was issued in his personal capacity," the person said.
Leung is facing a bribery investigation over claims he promised Lew a senior position in exchange for his support in the election. A spokesman for the Department of Justice said that "to avoid any possible perception of bias", or improper influence, the secretary for justice had delegated the director of public prosecution, Kevin Zervos SC, to decide whether prosecution was warranted in the cases involving Leung and Lew, and another case concerning Leung's former rival Henry Tang Ying-yen's unauthorised structures at his home.
Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said it was "not a good idea" for a politician to send a lawyer's letter in response to unfair comments, adding "political problems should be tackled with political means".
Acting Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor reiterated that the government had been upholding freedom of the press and expression.