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  • Jul 29, 2014
  • Updated: 5:33am

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

Ministers facing tougher conflict-of-interest rules

Business affairs of family highlighted in new guidelines after Paul Chan land controversy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 August, 2013, 5:51pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 August, 2013, 8:18am

New conflict-of-interest guidelines mean Hong Kong ministers will have to take into account the business interests of family and friends to avoid being drawn into scandals.

The rules follow a series of embarrassments involving members of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's cabinet. In the latest incident, development minister Paul Chan Mo-po and his political assistant, Henry Ho Kin-chung, were caught up in a row over the ownership of plots of land that will be redeveloped in the New Territories.

Under the new rules, private interests are described as "the financial and other interests of the officer himself, his family and other relations, his personal friends, the clubs and associations to which he belongs, any other groups of people with whom he has personal or social ties, or any person to whom he owes a favour or is obligated in any way".

Previously, the code for political appointees, updated only last year, specified that an official must report to the chief executive if his or her private interests might appear to influence their judgment in performing duties.

But unlike the rules for civil servants, the code did not define the extent of such interests. The new guidelines also state that unless permitted by the chief executive, an official can only accept a loan from a "close personal" friend if it is of no more than HK$3,000.

The guidelines do not apply to non-official Exco members.

Pan-democratic and pro-establishment lawmakers gave the rules a lukewarm reception.

Wong Kwok-kin, a legislator of the Federation of Trade Unions, said phrases such as "to whom he owes a favour" could create more grey areas than it cleared up.

However, Lam Woon-kwong, convenor of the Executive Council, said the public should wait and see how the system worked.

Former chief secretary David Akers-Jones believed the new guidelines would "help to clear up matters'. He said: "The definition by the government today will be of some importance and some use for the future."

Chan has faced calls to step down since it was revealed his wife and her family owned land in the Kwu Tung area where a new town is planned.

Chan declared these interests to the chief executive two months after his appointment as secretary in July last year - but that was too late, according to most government critics. Ho quit after failing to declare his family's ownership of land in the same area.

The new guidelines state that in the event of a conflict of interest, the chief executive should consider putting another official in charge of that area of policy.

The Democratic Party's chief executive, Lam Cheuk-ting, a former anti-graft investigator, urged Chan to steer clear of the new-town project as his brother-in-law now owns land in the redevelopment area. "This relationship has already caused embarrassment for Chan," Lam said.

Akers-Jones, asked about Chan, said: "He has the support of the chief executive and will continue to do his job ... If at any time Chan thinks he can't do the job, the decision is his."



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What does it take to get Paul Chan to resign and out of our faces?............
25,000 people in the street outside Legco
China will then instruct the local mayor what to do before the idea catches on over the border
It matters not any more what MoPo says or tries to do
'partitiongate-beergate-wifegate-landgate' has tarnished his credibility and he failed the sunshine test opportunity to openly reveal all
This means everything he tries to put forward will be filibustered
his repeated presence will shut down Legco's operations
He has to go
Mo baan fat
the sun also rises
I wonder under the new conflict-of-interests guidelines, whether our development minister, Mr.Chan Mo-po , should refrain from the North-east N.T.Development Plan since his wife's brother now owns a plot of farmland within the New Development Region !
but his wife's brother was declared bankrupt - how could he pay the supposed price for the shares and does the Official Receiver know ?
the sun also rises
maybe (most probably) his wife,Frieda (who has been eager in investments in subdivided flats in old tenement buildings in Shamshuipo) might lend her brother the sum of money to pay for her plot of farmland in Kuo Tung North and allowed him to pay her back by three turns (each time HK$ 900,000).That means actually that plot of land's real owner might probably still be Mrs.Chan Mo-po ! It of course breaches the conflict-of-interest guidelines just released !
all these yrs the HK gov dont proper rules in place?
Former officials get SUSPENDED sentences over housing scam
Former development secretary Mak Chai-kwong and an assistant director of highways Tsang King-man were each sentenced to eight months, suspended for two years.
In June, the duo were found guilty in the District Court of cross-renting their flats to each other during the 1980s, cheating the government out of HK$700,000 in allowances.
Mak, 62, is the first Cabinet secretary to be convicted. He and Tsang, 57, were earlier found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud.
Mak was convicted on two counts, and Tsang on three of using documents with intent to deceive the government.
Outside the courthouse, Tsang said he thanked his family, relatives, friends and colleagues for their supports. But he refused to comment further.
The two cross-leased flats 21E and 22E in City Garden, North Point, from 1985 to 1990 in order to claim a private tenancy allowance.
Corruption is in their genes, very hard to get rid of it!
Is this really going to change anything, with the upper echelon of Hong Kong within 2 - maybe 3 degrees of separation? It just changes the game, until proof of helping a friends friends subsidiary.
chuchu95 you are right, HK governance is all about changing rules after something has already happened, Then see how the enforcement fails...
What the guidelines have glaringly omitted is the accountability of the person to whom the declaration is made to. The one that receives the declaration needs to assess the declaration on its merits and take proper action where warranted. If CY had taken appropriate action this whole fiasco could have been avoided. New guidelines? A typical example of 'locking the stable door after the horse has bolted'.




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