• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am
NewsHong Kong
GOVERNANCE

Democrats apologise for Cathay junket

It wasn’t appropriate for lawmakers to accept the free trip, says party’s central committee, and chief Emily Lau says sorry to the public

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 August, 2013, 5:21am

The Democratic Party considers its lawmakers' acceptance of Cathay Pacific's free trip to France as inappropriate and has apologised to the public.

Its central committee said last night that the party had a guideline which stated that committee members and councillors should not accept any overly generous offers.

If this happened to Leung Chun-ying or [the development minister] Paul Chan Mo-po, they would certainly have been given a hard time

It had yet to decide on any follow-up action, said party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing, who made the apology.

Some of the lawmakers who went on the junket yesterday meanwhile promised to remain "unbiased" in doing their job.

They gave this vow after confirming that during the six-day trip Cathay management had reiterated its opposition to potential rival Jetstar Hong Kong's bid for an air operator's licence.

Four out of the eight holidaying lawmakers had yet to declare their interests on the Legislative Council's website yesterday.

Some lawmakers were also found to have deviated from Cathay's itinerary, which was mainly to the Airbus plant in Toulouse.

Elizabeth Quat, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, went to Frankfurt with her husband about a week before the tour and insurance sector representative Chan Kin-por went to Britain with his wife on business before joining the group in France.

Democrats Albert Ho Chun-yan, James To Kun-sun and their wives also flew to Paris last Thursday, a day earlier than the scheduled visit.

Cathay Pacific paid for the Chans' detours to London and Quat's flight to Frankfurt, but it was unsure whether Quat paid for her flights to join her colleagues in France.

All eight lawmakers travelled with a family member, either a spouse or child.

They were criticised because there could be a potential conflict of interest.

Executive Council member Cheng Yiu-tong was also among the delegates, but he could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Liberal Party's Felix Chung Kwok-pan confirmed that while they were in Toulouse, a Cathay director reiterated the company's stance against an application by Jetstar, a low-cost airline venture between Shun Tak Holdings, Qantas Airways and China Eastern Airlines, for an air operator's licence.

Cathay believed a new licence should go to a local company, it was understood.

"We knew these issues before the journey, so it won't affect our judgment," Chung said.

Albert Ho also said that "the authority to [approve air operator's] licences lies solely with the government". He said lawmakers would not be giving Cathay any favours just because they were treated by the company.

Cathay Pacific said in a statement that for years, it had been the airline's practice to invite guests on aircraft delivery trips and new destination launches.

"New airline licence applications go through the government, not Legco," it said.

Some Hongkongers were not satisfied with the lawmakers' explanation. On RTHK's phone-in programme Talkabout, a caller criticised the three pan-democratic delegates for having double standards.

"If this happened to Leung Chun-ying or [the development minister] Paul Chan Mo-po, they would certainly have been given a hard time," he said.

 

Share

More on this story

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
30

This article is now closed to comments

carmeledwin
Will we see long hair throwing bananas at them? Will we see Wong Yuk Man screaming obscenities at them? What about Albert Chan? Will he be asking them to step down? What about Lee Cheuk Yan? What is he going to do? I am sure they will all be applying double standards. Telling others to resign but not themselves. Typical of Pan-Democratics here.
dynamco
Oath I swear that, being a member of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, I will uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and serve the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
CONSCIENTIOUSLY, DUTIFULLY,IN FULL ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW, HONESTLY AND WITH INTEGRITY.
Integrity - noun -
'adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty'
Is it not time CX also revealed all the other invited freeloaders it has carried in the past ten years ?
It seems they majority of the Toulouse freeloaders were invited in their positions as Legco members, not as individuals.
In a business the recipient of an advantage has to receive the permission of his boss to accept the advantage - does the same thing not apply to Legco members ?
www.legco.gov.hk/general/english/procedur/content/partn.htm
(e) overseas visits made by the Member or his spouse relating to or arising out of membership of the Council where the cost of any such visit has not been wholly borne by the Member or public funds;

(f) any payments or any material benefits or advantages received by the Member or his spouse arising out of his membership of the Council from or on behalf of:

(i) any govt or organization of a place outside hk
impala
1. The people that have been in government over the past decade, or those that currently are in government aren't any better. If anything, they are worse.

2. If we do get a better functioning democratic process with universal suffrage, we can actually vote people like this out of office. And more importantly: party discipline will ensure they get removed as soon as things like this come out, which in turn will be the biggest incentive for them not to do it.

The biggest problem Hong Kong has, is not that this kind of stuff happens. It happens everywhere. The real problem is that, once it happens, there is nothing the public or anybody else can do except hold yet another protest march. This case is unlikely to violate the letter of the law, so even the ICAC is powerless. If the mesdames and messieurs decide to ride out the public outcry and sit tight, that's where the buck ends. That is why we need more accountability, transparency and checks&balances. The best way to get that, is more democracy, not less.
mercedes2233
Shame on Cathay and these participants. They should have known better and should now all be prosecuted for offering and accepting bribes.
dynamco
Update: 10 Legco members, not 8
have found two more Legco members on the trip than reported by the press
add - Abraham Shek & Andrew Leung
Updated junketeers :10 Legco members, 1 Exco member, 2 HKAA lobbyists, 1 unnamed HK Baptist U academic + equal number family members = 28 freebies
See the list:
www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1299095/no-room-advantage#comment-35363
Meanwhile:
www.hongkongairport.com/eng/pdf/media/publication/report/12_13/E_09_The_Board.pdf
Check out some of the members on the Board of the Hong Kong Airport Authority
Are you surprised ?
The Honourable Albert Ho Chun-yan . Member of theLegislative Council. Tuen Mun District Council Member.
Member of the ICAC Complaints Committee.(Gee!)
Mr Stanley H ui Hon-chung JP
Chief Executive Officer
Former Chief Executive Officer of Dragonair and Chief Operating Officer of Air Hong Kong.
The Honourable Chan Kam-lam Member of the Legislative Council
Chairman of the Panel on Transport, Member of the Finance Committee
The Honourable Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung Non-official Member of the Executive Council. Member
of the Legislative Council.
Ms Miriam Lau Kin-yee GBS JP Liberal Party ex Transport Functional Constituency member in Legco
ayaaaaaaaaah!
chaz_hen
Is Albert Ho doing a Quasimodo impression in that photo??
Stephan
No, that's his normal daily face!
fsk999
Today I read that at least some of them are donating to charity. The SCMP must name and shame those that do not.
impala
Life under Farmer Jones wasn't so bad after all huh.
blue
Says the person who wants Snowden to hang.

Pages

Login

SCMP.com Account

or