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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 9:44am
NewsHong Kong

Beijing loyalists refuse to donate junket costs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 5:50am

Executive councillor Cheng Yiu-tong and lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, both Beijing loyalists, say they won't donate the costs of a six-day trip to France sponsored by Cathay Pacific, insisting it was all above board.

"I have already declared [the trip]," Cheng said. "I feel I've done all that I needed to do. I didn't breach any regulation, I won't give [the costs] back, and I have no budget to give it back."

Cheng, Ip and seven lawmakers each travelled with a relative - either a spouse or a child - from Hong Kong to Toulouse via Paris, and returned on a new Cathay aircraft last Wednesday.

A one-way business-class flight from Hong Kong to Paris costs at least HK$58,300, according to the airline's website.

The junket has prompted criticism about a potential conflict of interest after some lawmakers confirmed that during the trip, Cathay management reiterated the "importance" of an extra runway being built at the airport, and Cathay's opposition to potential rival Jetstar Hong Kong's bid for an air operator's licence.

Cheng said his discussions with Cathay managers during the trip mainly involved workplace relations, and that politicians and the media had for many years accepted sponsored trips. "I don't think it's a problem," he said, although he agreed that the declaration system should be reviewed and made stricter.

Ip, a member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), also believed he had done nothing wrong.

"It was more about socialising," he said. "But the Legislative Council can discuss how to handle such tours in the future."

Elizabeth Quat, also of the DAB, earlier agreed to donate part of the cost of the free ticket to charity because she and her husband travelled to Germany en route.

Another pro-establishment lawmaker, Chan Kin-por, representing the insurance sector, went to Britain with his wife on business before joining the group in France. He said he had donated HK$80,000 to the Hong Kong Red Cross because Cathay paid for their detour to London, as well as the journey to Paris.

Felix Chung Kwok-pan, of the Liberal Party, said he would not mind making a donation "if that makes the public feel good".

Independent Ma Fung-kwok, who was also on the trip, could not be reached for comment.

Democrats Albert Ho Chun-yan and James To Kun-sun have pledged to donate HK$50,000 each to a charity of Cathay's choice as reimbursement for the cost of their wives' trips.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Kenneth Leung, representing the accounting sector, has said he would donate HK$100,000.


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This article is now closed to comments

These people simply do not understand there is a conflict. Too long in the job and too used to the perks without any thought of accountability. I want to thank you for showing your true character - you feel a sense of entitlement because of your position. You are showing the true face of those at the top - you are arrogant and venal. These junkets should stop. The outdated cosy rules must be completely overhauled by Legco. We need to clean house but I fear it's way too late as the system is corrupt.
No need to be so defensive, Camel. The that fact that it goes on in other places is no excuse. Right is right and wrong is wrong. The western democratic process, especially perhaps in the US, has become dysfunctional and corrupt partly as a result of exactly this sort of lobbying and schmoozing. As former president Jimmy Carter recently stated, “America has no functioning democracy.” For all our sakes, corruption needs to be stamped out everywhere, HK included.
We all know that HK is run by big business and that politicians and officials are bought and paid for. For we the sheeple, this is clearly not in our interests; but, without a government accountable to a one-person-one-vote electorate, we are powerless to stop them walking all over us. Even the ICAC is politicised!
You're just defending these pro-CCP loyalists by using bad examples from the US. Why won't you use good examples from the US to defend Hong Kong? Examples like, freedom of the press & the democratic system they use. Seems like you're picking and choosing.
hard times !
Both Exco.member Cheng Yiu-tong (of the Federation of Trade Unions) and DAB's vice-chairman, Ip Kwok-him have refused to donate at least part of the junket fee (those of their spouses or children) to the charity orgnisations ! How arrogant they look ! As all know, the Exexcutive Council has the power to determine whether to issue a licence to the budget airline,Jetstar which is bidding to operate in Hong Kong but Cathay Pacific views its bid as a rival competition which would hurt her interests ! Managers of Cathay Pacific mentioned the construction of a third runway and their company's objection towards offering a licence to any budget airlines during the briefing sessions with the lawmakers and that sole Exco member,Cheng Yiu-tong who is certainly having a conflict of interest in this matter ! How dared he take the risk of joining the tour to France ---a free lunch ? Nonsense !
seems SCMP still cannot get it right
To clarify the junket members (+14 family freeloaders):
10 Legco members on the trip + 1 EXCO
DEMOCRATS Legco declaration of interest form date
1 Albert Ho Chun-yan declaration 23/8 for trip 16-21/8
2 James To Kun-sun declaration 23/8 for trip 16-21/8
3 Kenneth Leung declaration 13/8 for trip 16-21/8
4 Ip Kwok-him declaration 20/8 for trip 17-21/8
5 Elizabeth Quat declaration 20/8 for trip 16-21/8 also went to Frankfurt
6 Felix Chung Kwok-pan declaration 21/8 for trip 17-21/8
7 Chan Kin-por declaration 22/8 for trip 16-21/8 (also adds Scottish Parliament trip 12-16/8 2013)
8 Ma Fung-kwok declaration 21/8 for trip 17-21/8
9 Abraham Shek Lai-Him declaration 22/8 for trip 19-20 /8 adds ‘a donation $50,000 to be made to HK Unison for acceptance of this free trip’
10 Andrew Leung Kwan-Yuen declaration 08/7 registered 24/7 for trip 18-21/8
11 Cheng Yiu-tong Chairman HKFTU declaration 09 /8 2013 for trip 17-21 in a radio interview said he would not refund
AIRPORT AUTHORITY lobbyist former chief executive
12 Billy Lam Chung-lun
AIRPORT AUTHORITY lobbyist board member
13 Huen Wong
14 Unnamed academic from Baptist University
Do they think just putting a donation down into a box will clear them clean? When Donald Tsang was putting under fire, Albert Ho in particular sounded very differently.
So what? We are in HONG KONG, and this is happening in HONG KONG
The Mainlandization of Hong Kong....
Your sentiment against the Mainland is becoming more and more ridiculous. Such tours happen in western countries on regular basis. Especially in the US where members of Congress and Senat are well treated by big corporations and lobbys to influence their votings. Back in "good" old HK times British officials were pammpered as well by tycoons. Out of the reach of the ICAC. So spare us with your 50 cents.



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