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  • Apr 17, 2014
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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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the sun also rises
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 !
daily
He is shirking as he always does............he knows that whatever he says, the public will blast him......This is a true and fine example of a lame-duck.

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