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  • Oct 2, 2014
  • Updated: 5:05pm
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POLITICS

We will deal with ICAC spending row, says CY Leung

Chief executive promises he is serious about allegations, but others accuse him of trivialising graft issue after pledge of clean government

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 3:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 May, 2013, 7:23am

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said yesterday he was "serious" about allegations against former chief graft-buster Timothy Tong Hin-ming, but any decision on what to do would await the outcome of an internal investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Leung was making his first direct remarks about the allegations since they surfaced two weeks ago. The comments also came as former ICAC officers released a petition calling for Tong answer them in public.

Despite his declaration of seriousness the chief executive was accused of trivialising the issue by declaring that his was a clean government whose officials did not wear flowers in their buttonholes or drink bottled water at meetings.

Tong, reported to have hosted more than 20 lavish meals for top office-holders from the central government's liaison office, also used the public purse to pay for expensive presents to mainland officials, including cookies and mooncakes worth more than HK$48,000. The sum was not included in HK$220,000 the ICAC had earlier told the Legislative Council that Tong had spent on gifts in his tenure. Leung said that when the ICAC finished its internal investigation, "certainly there will be a decision on whether there is a need to handle the matter solemnly and comprehensively. [We] will report to the public when a decision is made".

He said a clean government had been "our strong focus".

"We do not wear boutonnière at public events. We also try our best not to conduct gift exchanges with visiting guests ... tap water, not bottled water, is used during all meetings."

We do not wear boutonnière at public events. We also try our best not to conduct gift exchanges with visiting guests ... tap water, not bottled water, is used during all meetings

But Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting, an investigator under Tong who has laid a formal complaint about the allegations, said it was a crisis for Hong Kong that could jeopardise the public's view of the ICAC.

"CY should not just talk about water, which is just too trivial."

Lam has collected more than 10 signatures of former ICAC officers for a petition urging Tong, who has stayed silent so far, to come out in public.

In a statement, co-signed by former ICAC chief investigator Stephen Char Shik-ngor, the ex-officers also urged the authorities to strengthen scrutiny over top ICAC officials.

Tong, a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, stepped down as commissioner last year.

Former deputy commissioner Tony Kwok Man-wai meanwhile said in a statement that any independent investigation must come after the ICAC's own probe, in which the public should trust.

"Acting in accordance with the rule of law has been among Hong Kong's core values. The supervision and check-and-balance mechanisms at the ICAC have been effective for the past 39 years," he said.

But Lam said the allegations deserved public scrutiny.

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hard times !
we demand a detailed report from the ICAC concerning Tong Hin-ming's scandals related to his over-spending of public money(tax-payers) on lavish meals and Moi Tai wine on treating visiting Mainland officials.Besides, how about his expensive gifts to these visiting VIPs ? And his working habit of attending his office at 11:00 a.m. Then left at 1:00 p.m. for lunch (with Moi Tai of course). Afterwards, he went back to his office to take a nap until the evening when he would enjoy his luxurious meals with VIPs or friends of the local Liaison Office ! What an enjoyable working life ! He becomes the idol of all salarymen and maybe corrupted civil servants too !
hard times !
Most Hongkongers are anxious or eager to know what had happened during Tong Hin-ming's five years at the ICAC where his corrupted life had been disclosed for four days consecutively on local Ming Pao Daily News' headlines ! No more delay, please !
hard times !
We just can't wait for the report from the now-infamous graft-buster ! We want the Leung administration to set up an independent high-level committee to investigate into the scandals related to retired former Commissioner of that institution,Timothy Tong Hin-ming who is now hiding from the media and the general public like a coward or an injured wild beast in his den !
HK-Lover
We are all proud that Hong Kong is a place of law and order. Then let's also deal with the Timothy Tong allegations with the spirit of law and order, which means that the accused is innocent till proven guilty.
But the government has to investigate swiftly and quickly in a most transparent manner. There should be an internal and publicized investigation by ICAC followed by an independent and public investigation. Supposing that both investigation result in the same conclusions this will help ICAC to re-build its reputation of being independent and working by the letter.
hard times !
our last so-called good guys----the ICAC's former head,Tong Hin-ming has been found to be corrupted to an absurd level-------inviting his girlfriend to meals with officials from the Liaison Office (dined with Moi Tai wine of course) or even his close golf friend, a businessman from Shenzhen,Mr.Wong Chor-pui who is also greedy Sir Donald's friend ! His cabinet at his office at ICAC office was stored with his favourite Moi Tai wine instead of vital documents ! He used to work only 2 hours a day (from 11:00 a.m.to 1 p.m.) and after lunch (with wine of course), he would take a long nap until evening before attending luxurious dinner parties ! Besides,he used to tell his staff to buy local well-known night snacks from Yung kee's roasted goose; chicken congee from Shatin's keung Kee and curry food from Shek Kong, Yuen Long, not to say his Jenny Bakery's cookies,expensive gifts for Mainland officials (while receivingexpensive gifts from them himself both here and on Mainland of course) His waste/spending of public money on lavish banquets and meals for Mainland officials maybe due to the fact that he had been well-treated by them on Mainland during his 19-times duty visits there ! Right ?
daily
Kind of feel that there's no more independent bodies in HK anymore...........the last of the "good guys" corrupted and tarnished by one stupiid and greedy idiot who misused public funds.........the funny thing is that the guy himself even looks like a crook so cannot figure out how he ever got nominated for that position...........go figure.
johnyuan
If the allegations are true, Hong Kong’s most envied institution of its kind in the world lost its creditability. Its retired chief purported wrong doings are identical copies of official behavior in mainland China that President Xi despises and putting it to a stop. For CY Leung, spare no expanse, friendships and politics but dig to the bottom. No matter how would the investigation turn out, the investigation itself is the key to defend or save Hong Kong of its ICAC that has had the respect worldwide. Never mind of the overrated rule of law like its dysfunctional political system, ICAC is the real workhorse that attracted the international businesses and mainland Chinese migrating to Hong Kong. So CY Leung, it is time for you to shine paving for your own aspiration to serve Hong Kong for years to come.
ianson
It is critical that Leung stands on the sidelines on this one. Emphasis must be placed on the "Independent" in ICAC because we rely on it to scrutinise Government rather than be ultimately under the government's thumb. So the vital task of clearing up Tong's misdeeds should be left entirely to Legco.
hard times !
of course, the clean administration of C.Y.Leung has to deal with the alleged corruptiion related to former Commissioner of the ICAC-----Timothy Tong Hin-ming whose acts have made the government and his former staff and department very embarrassed ! Now people if invited to the ICAC for inquiry,they might wonder instead of being treated with coffee in the extremely chilly room while being questioned,they might be treated with Moi Tai wine (left by Tong Hin-ming) if their social status are senior enough ! How embarrasing the situation will be ! Besides,now our vital core value:a clean government so as to be trusted by people and do businesses have been seriously tarnished.C.Y.Leung has to tackle this issue without any mercy shown or faces given to any former top officials:including Sir Donald,**** Sze-yan or this coward Tong Hin-ming ! Right ?
HK-Lover
On another more trivial note. Our officials need to drink tap water during meetings ? That's a bit over the top and not the healthiest thing to do. It would be wrong if they drink expensive brand name waters but bottled water from water dispensers should be the norm for our officials and civil servants. The majority of private companies provide bottled water in water dispensers, why our officials and civil servants have to drink purely tasting tap water ? That is money saving at the wrong end and detrimental to working moral.

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