• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 5:10am
NewsHong Kong

Timothy Tong scandal deals ‘distressing’ blow to anti-graft agency: Carrie Lam

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 4:18pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 4:49pm

The "upsetting and regrettable" scandal and criminal investigation surrounding former ICAC chief Timothy Tong Hin-ming have tarnished the reputation of the anti-graft agency, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday.

But the government's No2 official dismissed a suggestion for tighter rules to deter former chief executives, ministers and regulators from receiving benefits after they retired.

She also rejected a call to look at whether people who joined the civil service after 2000, when its pension system changed, might be more inclined to corruption.

Tong was appointed as a local delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Beijing's top advisory body, shortly before he was revealed to have spent lavishly on dinners and received gifts from mainland officials during his tenure at the Independent Commission Against Corruption between 2007 and 2012.

Referring to a Legislative Council report that condemned the "deplorable" overspending, Lam said: "The report revealed the inadequacies and non-compliances of the ICAC in the handling of official entertainment, duty visits outside Hong Kong and gifts during the tenure of its former commissioner.

"[It] inevitably undermined the ICAC's image and Hong Kong's reputation as a corruption-free society."

Citing remarks made by advisory committee on corruption chairman Chow Chung-kong, Lam said: "[I share his feeling] the incident was upsetting and regrettable. … But I trust under the leadership of the present commissioner, the ICAC will continue its follow-up."

Last month, chairman of the ICAC operations review committee Michael Sze Cho-cheung warned that less generous pensions might prompt civil servants to accept kickbacks.

Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit urged the government to look into the matter.

In 2000, new recruits switched to the Civil Service Provident Fund - to which the government contributes 15 to 25 per cent of the salaries of those with more than three years' service.



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This article is now closed to comments

John Adams
I can understand why they need travel budgets , but I cannot understand why they need entertainment allowances - especially the ICAC. I can't even unerstand why senior ICAC staff even need to leave HK, except to follow up cases which need overseas detective work . I certainly cannot understand Tong's frequent "pleasure trips" to China, unless it was that he was basically corrupt and was abusing his position for personal gain.
Yet another pig at the trough - like Donald Tsang and Rafael H u i .
(Seems that the internal rules by which our company operates in HK and China are by far stricter than the govt or the ICAC ! )
I am at a loss to understand why the ICAC, or any govt. department for that matter, needs meal, travel and entertainment budgets.
One question, why did no ICAC staff 'blow the whistle.' Does not bode well when they can't deal with their own malpractice.
They need these allowances so that they can continue to pig at the trough! They are shameless in their sense of entitlement! Timothy Tong's behaviour has been deplorable and he has no sense of shame - just self- pity that he was caught!


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