The incoming director of public prosecutions is a man dedicated to the rule of law but one yet to prove his management skills, according to a former law school classmate.
With 25 years of experience as a barrister, Keith Yeung Kar-hung will join the Department of Justice to replace outgoing director Kevin Zervos.
Law academic Eric Cheung Tat-ming, who was in Yeung's legal studies class at the University of Hong Kong, said his friend of many years was a low-profile person. "The Keith Yeung I know understands the importance of the rule of law," the HKU principal law lecturer said. "He is dedicated to safeguarding the rule of law."
Yeung began his private practice as a barrister in 1988 and was appointed senior counsel in 2009, specialising in civil aspects of commercial litigation.
He was a committee member of the Bar Association for many years, including a stint as vice-chairman. He is chairman of the Non-local Higher and Professional Education Appeal Board, and the Appeal Tribunal (Buildings). He is also a member of the Criminal and Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation Board, Dumping at Sea Appeal Board Panel and Waste Disposal Appeal Board Panel. In the first two months of this year, he was a deputy judge of the Court of First Instance.
Cheung noted that during Yeung's years on the Bar Association committee, the association was vocal on human rights and matters related to the rule of law.
"It's not easy to be the director of public prosecutions. His skills in administrative management remain to be tested," Cheung said. He hoped Yeung's experience as a defence lawyer would help him perform his new role in balancing the interest of defendants when deciding whether to go ahead with a prosecution.
Senior barrister Alan Leong Kah-kit, a Civic Party lawmaker, welcomed the appointment.
Secretary of Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said: "I am confident that [Yeung] will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the department."