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  • Aug 27, 2014
  • Updated: 7:10pm
NewsHong Kong

Canteen lunches for ICAC chief after excesses of predecessor

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 April, 2013, 10:43am

The city's top graft-buster said he would in future only host meals in the ICAC's canteen at around HK$200 a head after it emerged yesterday that his predecessor spent more than HK$77,000 on two banquets for visiting mainland officials.

Lawmakers proposed that the legislature investigate the former commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Timothy Tong Hin-ming, over his costly presents and receptions.

The two dinners were held in November and December 2010 in the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wan Chai. The bills totalled HK$77,100.

The first one was to entertain 36 officials, including Cao Jianming, prosecutor-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Tong approved the consumption of five bottles of moutai liquor, each costing HK$1,450.

In the second dinner, 28 officials were treated, including Wei Hong, who was then the deputy governor of Sichuan. Average spending per head was HK$1,150 and HK$1,275, well above the limit of HK$450.

Last week the audit report revealed two other cases of overspending on lavish meals by Tong during his five-year tenure.

Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu expressed concern that staff morale would be affected by the revelations and said he would set out guidelines on gifts, meals and official visits.

We already have close ties with our [mainland] counterparts. We will discuss with them first, suggesting that we do not exchange gifts

"We already have close ties with our [mainland] counterparts. We will discuss with them first, suggesting that we do not exchange gifts," he said.

If such exchanges were unavoidable, Peh said, he would give out the commission's annual report and promotional video. Other possible gifts included shields and crystal models bearing the ICAC logo and not exceeding HK$400 in value.

Papers released by Legco on Tuesday also showed that Tong spent more than HK$154,000 on gifts to officials in mainland government departments and their related agencies in Hong Kong.

He also spent HK$757,921 on duty visits, with 19 of 34 trips during his tenure being to the mainland, ICAC data shows.

Lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing urged Legco's security panel to invite Tong to explain the matter, saying he had "tarnished the image of ICAC and damaged officers' morale".

She said that a source had told her that Tong had hosted "countless" meals with liaison office officials.

Lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan said she would use Legco's powers and privileges ordinance to summon Tong.

The audit commission said it would keep in view the matter and consider follow-up reviews if necessary.

Peh said he would co-operate with any inquiry.



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This article is now closed to comments

the sun also rises
According to former ICAC Commissioner, Mrs Law Fan Chiu-fun, there is a nice and decent canteen in the headquarters of ICAC in North Point though she herself couldn't enjoy it as she had left the Commission when it was available. And according to lawmaker Ip Lau Suk-yee (once the superior of this suspected culprit of corruption:Timothy Tong Hin-ming),the canteen located at the headquarters of the ICAC is quite a fantastic one (where one can admire the harbour view while dining).I just can't understand why this Tong Hin-ming didn't invite the visiting Mainland officials or officials from the Liaison Office to dine at his Commission's canteen instead so as to demonstrate the integrity and cleanliness of the graft-buster and be a good example for anti-corruption teaching material ? How politcal insensitive this Moi Toi lover was ! As regards to the Jenny Bakery's cookies, they might be used to please the Mainland officials to pave his way after retirement so now he has become a member of the CPPCC---an honourable post which enjoys certain privileges !
There is something rotten in the state of Hong Kong. This is not an isolated example but a symptom of a much more widespread disease in our system of governance. Senior civil servants would not dare behave in such a manner if there was a vestige of integrity in the administrative and political leadership. We are being ruled at the whims of amoral tycoons, corrupt politicians and officials who think that ethics and the the law are something applicable only to others who are outside the magic circle.
Characteristically, like other cronies of the Motherland with questionable pasts, he has been appointed a member of the CPPCC, for which it seems the only qualification is subservience.
"We are being ruled at the whims of amoral tycoons, corrupt politicians and officials who think that ethics and the the law are something applicable only to others who are outside the magic circle."........How TRUE it is !!! Just look at 'bow tie" and Henry T, the two highest ranking officials in the past administration, what they did.
Completely unethical and a terrible precedent. The ICAC should be leading by example and showing China how NOT to be corrupt, not partaking in questionable gift-giving. If in doubt, don't give.
How can anyone expect Chinese officials to not be corrupt, when they see they see the Head of the ICAC - HK's supposed anti-corruption police - giving out expensive gifts and dinners?! Absolutely ridiculous.
Timothy Tong should issue a public apology and the HK govt should show some backbone and prosecute this guy - make it clear to the world that not even the former Head of the ICAC can get away with corrupt activities. That would really embolden HK's claim to be one of the most corruption free societies in the world.
the sun also rises
I think our trusted and respected ICAC which was set up in 1974 by the then Governor Sir McLehose to combat the then rampant corruption in town should review its communication measures with its counterparts on Mainland------------fewer meals or feasts and no more exchange of gifts worth more than HK$400 since any businesses can be discussed in ICAC's office within office hours ! And there should be a better monitoring mechanism of the ICAC head appointed by the Chief Executive.It is known that this corrupted Timothy Tong is a favourite of former Chief Executive,Sir Donald who appointed the former in 2007 to succeed Mr.Wong Hung-chiu as the Commissioner of the graft-buster.
I think ICAC should now send a circular about its policy on gifts, meals and official visits to every Mainland Chinese officials for their record and put up advertisement in China from time to time reminding the public of this policy!
Outrageous. He should be held accountable and made pay back the excesses from his own pocket.
He should also be reprimanded with his Fat Pension reduced for not doing his job properly and setting a bad example which affects the integrity and image of Hong Kong.
So this ex - ICAC's main job duty was to entertain and wine and dine other offiials with the public's money, while his department is suppose to catch others who are corrupted........sounds quite a joke........summon this guy and make him answer to his lavish spending.......he's more corrupted than the criminals that the ICAC are chasing.
you can also come to my restaurant, less than $100 set lunch




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