• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 7:43am
NewsHong Kong

Tong's hospitality as chief of customs raises eyebrows

More allegations emerge of ex-ICAC head's extravagant treatment of mainland officials

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 5:48am

A second public agency has become mired in a row over former graft-buster chief Timothy Tong Hin-ming's excessive hospitality to mainland officials.

This time it is the Customs and Excise Department, which he used to run.

A lawmaker urged the tight-lipped department to explain why Tong could borrow a plane from the Government Flying Service to entertain visiting mainland officials in 2004, as alleged by a Chinese-language newspaper yesterday.

Tong was commissioner for customs and excise from 2003 to 2007 before becoming commissioner for the Independent Commission Against Corruption, a post he held until last year.

The latest allegation involved Shenzhen customs director general Zou Zhiwu's visit on April 14, 2004.

"Commissioner Tong accompanied director general Zou to board a fixed-wing airplane for an aerial reconnaissance of the smuggling black spots at the boundary and sea," the June 2004 issue of the department's internal publication, Customs News, reported.

It said Zou also boarded a customs launch to study navigation and surveillance equipment.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun acknowledged the flying service had a responsibility to deploy planes to help other law enforcement agencies deliver their duties and that customs had legitimate reasons to borrow one.

But it was difficult to tell if the plane had really taken the guests to inspect smuggling black spots, To said.

Now people are suspecting [the trip had involved sightseeing]. So customs should really come clean

"Now people are suspecting [the trip had involved sightseeing]. So customs should really come clean, or else it would give an impression that the current commissioner is trying to shield the former commissioner."

To said he had written to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to call for an independent investigative commission. Leung said he believed the Legislative Council, ICAC and review committee that he had set up would look into allegations about Tong.

The former customs chief also reportedly spent big on giving gifts, hosting receptions and using department boats and cars to receive mainland officials.

Last night, the department said government officials adhered strictly to expenditure guidelines and it had nothing to add. The flying service did not reply to enquiries.

Similar claims of overspending have been made of Tong's five-year tenure at the ICAC. Another newspaper report yesterday said Tong allegedly received 450 gifts as chief graft-buster.

An ICAC spokesman said employees would display gifts they had received in the office and contribute them to lucky draws during staff functions. Gifts of food would be shared among staff while alcohol could be served at official functions.


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hard times !
In yesterday's Ming Pao Daily News,(a local Chinese newspaper),it is said that during his five-year long tenure as the ICAC Commissioner, this Timothy Tong has totally received at least 450 gifts---how ironic and absurd it was ! Being the top graft-buster,this corrupted Tong had no sense of righteousness or shame at all ! No doubt,he is now hiding elsewhere awaiting to be summoned to defend /testify all those accusations against him ! Anyway,the public trials of this old guy has already dealt him a great blow------he now looks depressed and upset, no more glamour as in the past glorious years when he could dine lavishly, drink arrogantly and giving and receiving gifts generously plus sight-seeing on the excuses of carrying out duties.That explains why in his 34 times of duty visits in the five year tenure,he paid visits to the Mainland about 19 ! More than half of all his external visits ! He was definitely well-treated by Mainland officials (with public money of course) with Moi Tai wine and lavish feasts plus first-class hospitality ! Right ? How corrupted this old guy is ! He can be said to be the shame of Hong Kong and her people----a negative example of our clean government which C.Y.Leung pledged to be !
hard times !
now it is found that the over-spending of public money on visiting Mainland officals by Timothy Tong Hin-ming can be dated back to his tenure at the Customs & Excise Dept.(2003-2007) when he started to entertain visiting Mainland officials with feasts,gifts and sightseeing (on the excuse of inspections of course).The photo showed that Tong accompanied the then Shenzhen Customs Director General on a fixed-wing plane to inspect the black spots of smuggling which might turn out to be just another type of entertainment provided: sightseeing in the air only ! How corrupted this coward,Timothy Tong was (starting from 2003 when he was appointed by Mr.C.H.Tung as the Commissioner of the Excise & Customs on the recommendation of the leaving secretary for security,Mrs.Ip Lau Suk-yee whose vigorous efforts on promoting the Article 23 of Basic Law were much appreciated by Beijing.It is learnt that she was then asked to recommend certain people to take up key posts:Timothy Tong was one of them,Mr.Lee Siu-kwong was another one !
I can just see that more and more dirt on Tong is going to be uncovered in the coming months...........this is going to get interesting.............
With his corrupted boss, no wonders the subordinates (上樑不正下樑歪)
The feats of our former CE Tsang.
It may not just be a corruption issue. Most likely a political one.
CY Leung vs Tsang
It will be really interesting to see how the "dirt" is being cleansed; the accountability of such acts ought to be dealt with. As a leader of such an important role, it is painful to see such abuses.


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