• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 11:28pm
NewsHong Kong

Ex-ICAC chief silent amid questions over lavish hospitality spending

Former ICAC chief fails to respond to calls to explain his extravagant hospitality ways with mainland officials during his five-year term

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 April, 2013, 12:48pm

Former ICAC commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming continues to lie low despite calls to explain extravagant spending on hospitality for mainland officials during his five-year tenure.

Tong, who stepped down last year as the commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, has not responded since the scandal started making headlines last week.

Tong reportedly hosted more than 20 lavish meals for top office-holders from the central government's liaison office. The ICAC said they were still checking the records and would make their findings public.

He also had the public purse pay for expensive presents to mainland officials, including cookies and mooncakes worth more than HK$48,000. The sum was not included in the HK$220,000 the ICAC had earlier told the Legislative Council that Tong spent on gifts in his tenure from 2007 to last year.

Tong was last month appointed a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Yesterday, Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said it would support a push by pan-democrats for a formal inquiry to start by the end of the week - but said Tong should not be the only person facing Legco.

"Incumbent commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu should also explain to lawmakers what has happened to the system and whether the loopholes can be fixed," she told an RTHK programme.

The pro-establishment camp has expressed reluctance to launch an inquiry, although lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, agreed that the row had tainted the image and credibility of the anti-graft watchdog.

"The scandal has prompted the public to question whether the graft-buster as a whole is behaving like this," he said. "The ICAC has a responsibility to resist the extravagant giving of gifts."

Ip, also chairman of Legco's security panel, said the panel would not look into a specific case but would discuss relevant policies and regulations at its next meeting.

Separately, the legislature's public accounts committee will hold a hearing next month with a focus on general policies and spending. The ICAC is also expected to launch its own inquiry.

Incumbent top officials say they have now simplified their hospitality style.

Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, said his bureau had begun drafting general principles advising officials to state in advance that there would be no exchange of gifts in duty trips.

Police chief Andy Tsang Wai-hung said that from the point of view of crime-fighting, it was necessary to extend hospitality to mainland officials in order to boost cross-border co-operation. "But the hospitality will definitely be kept within the government regulations."

[Correction: An earlier version said the ICAC had confirmed that Tong hosted more than 20 lavish meals for liaison officials. The ICAC are still verifying the reports of 20 banquets.]


For unlimited access to:

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



This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
of course,the ICAC has a responsibility to resist the extravagant giving of gifts since it is a symbol of being clean and not corrupted.The Mainland cadre officials are usually hated by the people for their bribery, corruption and leading corruptied lives as well.How can Hong Kong officials change themselves to be like their counterparts on Mainland ? It would be the doom of our beloved Hong Kong ! So Timothy Tong's case should be looked into and examined in details to curb further violation of rules concerning our officials' over-spending of public money ! Hong Kong should be clean in both its environment and uncorrupted civil servants as well !
hard times !
By just lying low and keep silent can never save this over-greedy and corrupted CPPCC member, Timothy Tong whose pension should be stripped and so does his post in the CPPCC which fame has been tarnished by this old guy---who is just a wine-maniac only ! It is learnt that he could drink up a whole bottle of Moi Tai in a meal ! Let him die in the world of wine then ! He has now become a shame of the ICAC and a disgrace of our beloved Hong Kong which is proud of our fight against corruption by the ICAC !
hard times !
To extend hospitality to Mainland officials in order to boost cross-border co-operation---what a nice excuse for spending public money on lavish meals offered to VIPs from across the border where the corruptions have long been notorious ! No doubt as early as his predecessor, Tsang Yam-pui's era,during Tsang and his top aides'visits to Mainland,it is learnt that the gifts offered to them by Mainland officials were cartons of red wine /Moi Tai wine ! Now the wind of corruption (or so-called integration with Mainland) has unluckily spread to our beloved Hong Kong-----even to the ICAC ! What a pity !
For goodness sake Hong Kong: if the former Commissioner has indeed done something wrong then get on and speedily investigate the matter BUT no not destroy the good name of ICAC in the process. Remember Hong Kong you owe so much to the organisation and many ICAC officers who served during the days of rampant corruption still proudly work within the organisation. At the moment officer morale is being affected and therefore we need to remember achievements and fairly balance that against what needs to be done now. Hong Kong should be rightly proud of its battle against corruption and have faith on occasions such as this that it will be properly dealt with: as it always has been.. James BUCKLE - Former Deputy Commissioner, ICAC -1975 - 1996.
hard times !
I think not just Legco's Public Accounts Committee had to look into the case by summoning people concerned with Timothy Tong's case /scandal,even our lawmakers have to seriously consider making use of the Power & Privileges Rights Ordinance to summon Timothy Tong and his top aides during his five years at the Commission:e.g.Ms Mo Hei-man (wife of Lau Kwong-wah) who was then the director of Community Relations department ) and other senior staff (those two who acted as his attaches who bought the Jenny Bakery cookies,Moi Tai wine,X.O.wine and mooncakes plus bird's nest extract as well). Right ?
hard times !
as what a former investigative officer of the ICAC said that what the corrupted Tong Hin-ming had done in his five-year career as the Commissioner of it had to publicly explained what he had done whether it was acceptable or not since his acts had casued the institution much.Besides, we should thank our Audit Department and our open and free media (especially Ming Pao Daily News) which dare to raise the issue and even a follow-up ( four-day headlines in Ming Pao).The issue is so important and it affects our core values,our chief executive should publicly say what he will do related to the scandal and take proper actions as well so as to set Hongkongers' minds at ease !
hard times !
I wonder why this suspected culprit of corruption,the former Commissioner of ICAC,Tong Hin-ming has sealed his mouth and remains silent by not responding to all the accusations against him related to his over-spending of public money on lavish banquets for visiting senior Mainland officials and dined with Liasion Office officials up to over 20 times during his five-year tenure which is never a must as both organisations have no business relationship ! This coward Tong is now lying low and hiding somewhere---------dare not expose himself to defend his acts or ask for pardon from the public and his past colleagues at ICAC ! How cowadly this old guy is ! Shame on him and a bunch of his supporters here in this Column such as that notorious so-called 'whymak' ---a nasty guy with no sense of right from wrong at all !
20 meals over 5 years with visiting Mainland officials! That is already 1 meal every 3 months! And, was it HK800 per person? That was full 60% more expensive than the dim sum party we MA students give our visiting US professor! How dare he!


SCMP.com Account