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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 8:35am
NewsHong Kong

Independent review of ex anti-graft chief Timothy Tong's spending a 'whitewash'

Chief executive announces independent review of claims former head graft-buster splashed out lavish sums of public money on entertainment

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 May, 2013, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 May, 2013, 9:01am

An independent committee will examine claims that the former head of the ICAC, Timothy Tong Hin-ming, spent lavish sums of public money entertaining mainland officials, the chief executive announced yesterday.

The four-member committee, reporting directly to Leung Chun-ying, will also look at the regulations governing official entertainment.

Its establishment follows revelations that Tong spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from the public purse on receptions, gifts and duty visits during his five-year tenure as commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Some of the spending exceeded official limits but was approved by Tong himself.

Some of the spending exceeded official limits but was approved by Tong himself

Critics said the committee was likely to produce little more than a whitewash and should have been headed by a judge.

It will review the ICAC's regulatory procedures for handling expenses on official entertainment, gifts and duty visits.

It will also check whether ICAC staff of all ranks complied with the regulations during Tong's tenure and will make recommendations. Leung said the committee would release its findings in four months and denied he consulted Beijing before making the decision. "It is totally within Hong Kong's autonomy," he said. The committee members are all chairmen of advisory bodies overseeing the work of the ICAC.

It will be headed by Chow Chung-kong, chairman of the advisory committee on corruption. The other members are Albert Au Siu-cheung, Professor John Leong Chi-yan and Dr Leong Che-hung.

The Legislative Council's Public Accounts Committee will look into two lavish dinners Tong hosted with mainland officials. Corruption complaints have also been made to the ICAC.

Leung said the committee would co-ordinate its work with the two inquiries. But pan-democrats were disappointed at the lack of a commission with legal power chaired by a judge.

Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting, a former ICAC investigator, suspected Leung did not want to embarrass mainland officials and tycoons for whom Tong gave receptions.

He said: "There is already a conflict of interest when [the issue] is reviewed by members of ICAC advisory committees.

"The credibility … is far less than that of an independent commission chaired by a judge."

Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang intends to propose to the Legislative Council's House Committee today that the Powers and Privileges Ordinance be used to probe the scandal.

"The committee is neither here nor there. It will just be procrastination and a whitewash. It cannot provide an all-rounded account to the public," he said.

But Ip Kwok-him, lawmaker of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, welcomed the establishment of the committee.

Leung said he believed it would be effective as members were familiar with the ICAC's work. An ICAC spokesman pledged full assistance.


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This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
Just setting up a committee to review the systems of the ICAC is never enough to combat or curb corruption inside the graft-buster itself demonstrated by former Timothy Tong Hin-ming himself during his five-year tenure as Commissioner of that institution !Now the investigations of Tong's alleged scandals have handed to the ICAC itself which senior staff might have been involved in his corrupted acts:lavish meals to entertain visiting Mainland senior officials and offfering expensive gifts to them and over 20 meals with officials of the Liaison Office (even bringing along his gril-friend,Ms Chan Wing-mui, a former assistant director of Immigration Dept.) or his golf friend, Wong Chor-pui ( a Shenzhen land developer) by paying with tax-payers' money ! An independent committee to investigate the scandals is much needed indeed !
Somehow, I kind of smell that Leung's arrangement here is just going to procrastinate and delay this issue and then when the report comes out, he will just say there is room for improvement in the way the ICAC spends their budget without pointing any finger at Tong........this is digressing from the main issue that everyone is concerned about and that is Tong abusing public funds for his own personal gains. There is no way it takes four months to get to the bottom of Tong's wrongdoings..............this is just another way the government and Leung digresses from the core issue and protecting the guilty parties.........darn I hate the way the government handles financial and corruption issues.
Well it was the collapse of mau TAu Wai bldg; then the lamma ferry disaster, the broken elevator cables, and now the ICAC, now is time for HK government or hongkongers stop boasting we have the best civil servant team in the world. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, some senior civil servants are still entitle to paid vacation oversea trips and sending kids to study overseas. These kind of perk is unheard of in the whole world for civil servants. Most civil servants are costing about 300 to 400 % than private sector if you include all costs and benefits. But again, no political parties are willing to challenge them as they hold a lot of votes with 200k staff plus family members and retiree....
hard times !
the setting up of such a committee to reveiw the present system of the ICAC is disappointing to most Hongkongers (except the DAB lawmakers such as Ip Kwok-him who is also the chairman of the Security Committee of the Legco).Now it is crystally clear that the most harmful elements in our beloved Hong Kong are not the so-called trouble-makers: Maddog Wong Yuk-man, Chan Wai-yip,Leung Kwok-hung or Chan Chi-chuen or other pan-democratic camp members--the Civic Party,the Democratic Party,the Labour Party or even the Liberal Party headed by Lau Kin-yee but the DAB lawmakers and their senior members plus ...Right ? Shame on these Hong Kong traitors !They are the disgrace of Hongkongers !!
Crony Capitalism shoe shining. George Orwell's Animal Farm in its essence; a magic circle of brutal, tyrannical crooks and scoundrels all scratching each other's backs, covering each other's buts while pretending they are patriotic. Do C. Y. Leung and his advisors really believe they can fool all of the people all of the time?
How about appoint a retired judge to the Committee?
hard times !
why have the pro-establishment and pro-Beijng elements remained so low-key/profile in Tong Hin-ming's over-spending scandals ?Obviously,they well know that once there is a thorough investigation launched by an independent committee (headed by a top judge) or the Legco makes use of its Power & Privileges Ordinances to look into Tong's case, then all witnesses have to be summoned and tell the truth which will definitely make the Liaison Office very embarrassed and the whistle-blower in the ICAC will have to emerge to give his/her evidence against Tong during his five-year tenure there ! The whistle-blower enjoys not to be accused of defaming or any types of retaliation too. So now the Leung administration has produced this so-called Review Committee to downplay the whole incident !
hard times !
what most Hongkongers want is: an independent committee with legal power and headed by a judge(a senior one of course) to look into the case/scandals of Timothy Tong Hin-ming,the former ICAC Commissioner who has been discovered to waste tax-payers' money on showering lavish banquets and gifts for visiting Mainland officials during his five-year-long tenure.Now the Leung administration has taken a low-profile in this case (which is very serious as the scandals of Tong has greatly tarnished the public image of the ICAC and the morale of that graft-buster) though people in general have lost their confidence in that institution after this incident.Now they might ask: once I am invited to the ICAC for inquiry, will I will entertained with Moi Tai and not just coffee in an air-condtionted room as in the past ? Why ? Tong used to store dozens of Moi Tai in his cabinets in his office ! How absurd and shamless the whole incident sounds and looks !
hard times !
if the committee set up by Leung administration to review the scandals arisen from Tong Hin-ming,then it may be just a waste of time and energy.It is because a committee without any judicial or legal power to summon witnesses or ask them to tell the truth and nothing but the truth,the committee will be just like a 'tigress without teeth/fangs' only ! Trying to whitewash the scandals is meaningless indeed.'White is white and a rose is a rose', there is no need to have any so-called whitewashing to cover up filthy and dirty acts ! Just like columnist and radio/TV host, mr.Michael Chugani is a Hongkong-born American citizen and not an Indian.He is of course, hoding a Hong Kong birth certificate (just like this Old Hong Kong) and a permanent Hong Kong resident but he is an American citizen----not a local Chinese or a Chinese citizen !
hard times !
'an ICAC spokesman pledged full assistance.' What is the use of it ? Since it is known that the lavish banquets offered to the visiting Mainland officials at Grand Hyatt Hotel were not attended by Timothy Tong Hin-ming himself alone but instead the directors of his Commission attended them as well. And how about his over-20 times' meals with officials from the Liaison Office in Western District ? At least 10 times with his girlfriend too or even his buddy,Wang Chor-pui ( a close friend of Sir Donald too) ?
OnceTong declines to attend the inquiry sessions of this newly-set up committee which has no legal/judicial power to summon witnesses as a judge does,how can we Hongkongers know the truth of Tong's scandals and nothing but the truth ? Right ?



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