Former ICAC chief Timothy Tong silent on claims of 'drinking games with consular officials'

Former top graft-buster snubs questions on reports of frolics at banquet for foreign consuls

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 March, 2014, 5:33am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 March, 2014, 9:28am

Former anti-graft chief Timothy Tong Hin-ming and the ICAC maintained a stony silence yesterday in response to questioning by lawmakers over accusations Tong held drinking games with consular officials at the ICAC headquarters.

Tong was appearing for the seventh time before a Legislative Council select committee investigating his lavish spending on official entertainment, trips and gifts during his five years at the helm of the Independent Commission Against Corruption between 2007 and 2012.

The ICAC declined to comment on media reports of beer-drinking competitions.

And Tong would not be drawn on reports claiming drinking games and karaoke featured at an ICAC banquet in 2011 for overseas consuls. It is alleged the ICAC hired five chefs to cater for the 39 guests.

When pressed by Cyd Ho Sau-lan of the Labour Party about the beer-drinking frolics, Tong said: "If the ICAC has not provided any information in relation to the case, I don't think it's appropriate for me to give any details."

Later, Dennis Kwok of the Civic Party asked if the average spend per guest was more than HK$1,200 - or 1.6 times the limit. Tong said everything had been done openly.

"Everything is conducted 'under the sun'. There is no secrecy, and there is nothing to conceal," he said.

Outside the hearing, Tong said the banquet "involved the whole department, including employees at the executive level, who carried out discussions and took part in receiving the guests. It was an open action, not a decision made by a single individual."

The former ICAC supremo has previously told the committee he was aware of "imperfections and inadequacies" during his tenure, but said his overspending "was not a sin".

Tong continues to deny any wrongdoing as the probe continues. He has said that once the investigation is over, he will prove his innocence.