Paul Chan

Henry Tang urges Paul Chan to 'take responsibility' in conflict-of-interest row

Former chief executive candidate Henry Tang offers some words of advice

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 June, 2018, 2:59pm

Former chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen yesterday urged development chief Paul Chan Mo-po to come clean and take responsibility for his actions amid the conflict-of-interest row surrounding the minister.

Tang, himself the subject of intense criticism last year over the construction of an illegal basement at his property in Kowloon Tong, said: "I will send him these words: be open and frank, co-operate with the investigation and take responsibility."

I will send him these words: be open and frank, co-operate with the investigation and take responsibility
Henry Tang Ying-yen

Tang's involvement in the illegal structure scandal led to a dramatic reversal of fortune for him in last year's race to be chief executive, a position he had been widely tipped to win. He met the media yesterday, after a court hearing into his wife's role in the episode was adjourned.

Like Chan, Tang was accused of not being forthcoming with information on the scandal. He originally said the 2,400 sq ft basement under his home was a storeroom for groceries, but it was reported to contain entertainment facilities.

Tang's wife, Lisa Kuo Yu-chin, is now being prosecuted for building the basement without Buildings Department approval.

Chan said after a Legislative Council meeting yesterday that he would be more vigilant in future when handling potential conflicts of interest. On Sunday, thousands of people marched to call for his resignation.

Chan has been accused of releasing information in a piecemeal fashion regarding a potential conflict of interest over farmland owned by his wife which is expected to become part of a new town in Kwu Tung North.

He declined to disclose further information about the financial situation of his brother-in-law, Hui Ka-lun, after a sales contract showed he bought the shares in the company that owned the land from Chan's wife. "I'm sorry that I could not disclose information involving his privacy," he said.

The comments came despite Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying saying yesterday that Chan would be happy to answer more questions.

Hui was declared bankrupt in 2002 and emerged from bankruptcy in 2006. That led Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun to question how he could have raised HK$2.7 million to buy his sister's shares last year.

Chan reiterated yesterday that his wife had received the sum from her brother in three instalments.

When asked to disclose all land and properties owned by his "family", he told lawmakers in the meeting yesterday: "[It] depends how you define the word family. I don't think it's feasible to know what land and properties my in-laws are holding."

Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said the government should reflect on how it handled such incidents.