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  • Jul 24, 2014
  • Updated: 6:26am

Paul Chan Mo-po

Paul Chan Mo-po is Hong Kong's Secretary for Development. An accountant and the former President of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA), he was appointed by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying after the resignation of Mak Chai-kwong following a housing allowance scandal. In July 2013, Chan was accused of a conflict of interest when it was revealed that he or his family had an interest in a plot of land in the New Territories that the government had plans to develop.

NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

18,000 sq ft plot is no stockpile, Paul Chan’s wife declares

Lawmakers accuse her of distracting attention from minister's failure to declare interest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 July, 2013, 3:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 July, 2013, 7:22am

Lawmakers remained unconvinced yesterday after development minister Paul Chan Mo-po's wife said that if she wanted to stockpile land with development potential in the New Territories she would have bought more than one plot in 19 years.

With her husband still embroiled in a conflict-of-interest row over farmland at Kwu Tung that is included in a new town plan, Frieda Hui Po-ming made the point in a statement published in several Chinese-language newspapers yesterday.

She also apologised for causing her family trouble over the land and insisted that her husband had never owned the 18,000 square foot plot.

"It is not a stockpile of land," she said. "If it was, I would not have bought just one plot of land over 19 years."

Cyd Ho Sau-lan of the Labour Party said: "It doesn't matter if she bought only one piece of land or lots of land. Former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung stepped down just because he bought a car before he raised the vehicle tax."

Hui said the land was bought through Statement Industries in 1994, but the government did not announce Kwu Tung as a "potential strategic development site" until 1996.

Having already sold her interest in the company that holds the land, she further pledged in the statement to disclose all documents related to her own family's connection to the site. The land is due to be sold by open tender at market price.

She also condemned journalists for following her children.

Lawmakers passed a non-binding motion last Friday calling on Chan to step down, and thousands of people joined a march on Sunday to express their dissatisfaction with him.

The Legislative Council development panel will hold its third and fourth hearing on the Northeast New Territories Redevelopment plan today and tomorrow. It proposes new towns at Fan Ling North and Kwu Tung North and includes the plot in question.

Civic Party lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said Hui was trying to distract the public from the key issues. "Chan's inability to declare interest publicly and the actual and substantial gain involved are the main points."

He said Chan, as the bureau chief, could no longer lead the redevelopment project, urging him to hold himself accountable and step down.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

jandajel
When the wife takes out newspaper advertisements to defend her behavior, it is time for the minister to say goodbye.
the sun also rises
Freida has never intended to accumulate farmland while her husband bought it in 1994 ? As all know, the plot of land is surrounded by village houses and it is difficult to access it too. It was once rented to a farmer for a rent of HK$ 60 half a year.Though fruit trees could be planted there but it was instead abandoned for years and has been encircled by wires.Paul Chan has never been seen by his alumni, Ms Chung Yiu-ching (who lives in the neighbourhood ) there ! The piece of farmland was bought at a price tag of only 0.35 million but now it worths HK$17 millions since it is located within the North-east New Territories Development Region---Kuo Tung North.No one can believe the plot of land was not bought and abandoned for waiting to be resumed by the government at a high price ! Right ? Ms **** Po-ming is telling lies in broad daylight indeed !
impala
And very special thanks to David Wong for ripping that enormously informative and illustrative photo off Google StreetView.
m2leung
Paul Chan and wife may be stupid and naive, but Hong Kongers should not be upset that some members of our society have accumulated assets (especially 19 years ago when he does not know he will one day become the development secretary). Is there a conflict of interest? Yes, but he has actually satisfied our disclosure regulations for public officials. Hong Kong should strengthen its laws on disclosures and Paul Chan is a stupid fellow, but there is no point to waste so much energy on such a small piece of land.
mercedes2233
19 years ago he might have known through his various memberships and on Legislative Council of the plans to develop that area of the New Territories. He would have benefitted even without being Development Secretary. Why else do they have a piece of land there lying unused but nowhere else?
daily
I think her biggest mistake is the claim that selling the land to her brother rids her of all interest of the property.......it is not an arms-length transaction and there is still the very evident potential her brother is holding onto the property to sell after the government starts developing and reclaiming the land.............the monetary benefits is still within the close-knit family so this sale to the younger brother means absolutely nothing..........I think the Chan family lacks even the most basic knowledge of what constitutes "conflict of interest". Paul Chan does not even lack the most basic commercial business knowledge, let alone trying to be the development minister.........Can this guy even come up with any more reasons or excuses to stay on?..........Please leave and give HK a break man!

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