He backed rival, but Jack So urges support for CY Leung
Trade body chairman says Leung's first year in chief executive role has been impressive
The battle between supporters of Henry Tang Ying-yen and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is over, Tang supporter Jack So Chak-kwong said as he urged the business sector to get behind the city's leader.
The Trade Development Council chairman nominated Tang in last year's chief executive race, but says Leung has impressed in the year since. His stance is in contrast to that of some other Tang supporters in the business community, who have been critical of Leung.
"People should support C.Y. I don't think there's any more Leung camp and Tang camp," So said. "Whoever we nominated is in the past. That's how the game of democracy is played - after an election, people abandon previous preferences and come together."
But So is less impressed by the Occupy Central campaign, which will culminate in a sit-in protest blocking the streets of Central next July, unless the government brings forward acceptable plans for universal suffrage.
"I don't support Occupy Central. I support freedom of expression by lawful, legal means," So said. "Democracy includes respect for the law, respect for the legal system, respect for people's rights. To do that, why should you break the law in the first place?
"I know they are asking for one man, one vote … OK, express it in a legal, lawful manner like the July 1 march, in the rain, I respect that," So said. "There's plenty of space for discussion … Look, rule of law is one of Hong Kong's core values. Don't lose it."
So started his career with the government and served as an assistant to the founding commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Jack Cater, when the graft-busting body was set up in 1974. He says recent scandals surrounding the ICAC's former chief Timothy Tong Hin-ming were no more than a positive reflection of the city's intolerance for graft.
Tong was accused of spending lavishly on alcohol, gifts and receptions for mainland officials. So said the case should serve as a warning to government and the business sector that even a hint of corruption was not acceptable.
"Do you think these cases, some quite minor, you know, like a couple of bottles of wine, would be brought to light in a really corrupt society? They never see the light of day. But in Hong Kong, it's a big issue because people will not tolerate corruption."
All in all, Hong Kong's core values are "very much intact", he said, and "one country, two systems" continued to run smoothly under Leung's leadership.
Last month's Trade Development Council business mission to the United States was overshadowed by a row over the fate of US whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who was then hiding out in Hong Kong before moving on to Moscow.
"On the whole it was handled very well," he said of the Snowden case, although he would not be drawn on who should take the credit.