Paul Chan

Paul Chan ignores scandal and talks of trees instead

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 August, 2013, 5:20am

The city's scandal-hit development secretary has, for the second week in a row, studiously ignored the controversy surrounding him in his weekly blog.

In yesterday's entry, Paul Chan Mo-po talked about the government's register of old and valuable trees, without mentioning the Development Bureau's controversial plan to turn Kwu Tung - where his family has been found to own land - into a new town.

The project also drew criticism when Chan's political assistant, Henry Ho Kin-chung, resigned after his family was found to own factories in Kwu Tung.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, meanwhile, made a low-profile update to the interest disclosure rules amid the controversy, broadening their scope to include family members and close friends.

But Chan, who has stubbornly resisted calls for him to quit, addressed none of these issues.

Instead he wrote a 1,350-word blog recapping the bureau's efforts to protect valuable trees - much of those efforts being his predecessor's achievements.

Chan said 20 old trees had been added to the updated register since he succeeded Mak Chai-kwong to become development minister last year.

Mak was given a two-year suspended jail sentence of eight months last Thursday for filing fraudulent housing benefit claims.

Chan said the newly added trees were nominated by local and overseas tree-management experts and environmental groups.

He said dead trees would be removed from the register, which currently lists 493 trees.

Chan wrote: "We will continue to promote the conservation of trees and greening, and hope that residents will participate enthusiastically in caring for the valuable trees in our communities."