• Sun
  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Updated: 4:13am
Jimmy Lai
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Pan-democrat lawmakers sorry for handling of Jimmy Lai donations - but deny breaking rules

Money was not intended for personal use but should have been transferred to party accounts sooner, Lee Cheuk-yan and Leung Kwok-hung say

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 August, 2014, 12:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 August, 2014, 2:04pm

Two pan-democrat lawmakers have apologised for how they handled donations made by Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, but denied breaking Legislative Council rules.

Labour Party leader Lee Cheuk-yan said he feared the saga would affect the credibility of the democratic movement “at a critical stage”.

On Thursday, Lee revealed he had waited until this week to transfer HK$500,000 – donated by Lai last year – from his personal bank account to the Labour Party’s account.

Last week some 900 files, apparently stolen from the computer of a close associate of Lai, were leaked to the media revealing millions of dollars in donations made by the media mogul to pan-democrat parties and politicians.

Lee transferred HK$1.5 million to the Labour Party this week, including HK$1 million donated by Lai in recent weeks.

The party intended the HK$500,000 to be put toward its recycling social enterprise “Green Initiative”, Lee said.

The lawmaker said he could not have moved the sum sooner because the registration process for the enterprise had been delayed, something police have corroborated, while its bank account is still unready.

“This was a bad decision,” Lee told Commercial Radio on Friday morning, adding that he would suggest that future donations should go to the party directly.

“I did not handle [the donation] well and have failed to put the public at ease. I apologise over the doubts we caused for the public because of the handling [of the donation] by the Labour Party and by me,” he said.

“I feel deeply uncomfortable that something like this has happened at a critical stage of the [democratic movement],” Lee lamented. “I would owe the movement ... [for] anything that might affect its credibility.”

League of Social Democrats lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, who says he accepted HK$500,000 from Lai which was for the League and not for him personally, also said sorry to his supporters.

“In future donations will go directly to the League,” he said.

Leung also dismissed allegations that he had received another sum of money from Lai in June this year.

Both lawmakers deny breaking Legco rules which state that lawmakers must disclose “financial sponsorships” by any person or organisation.

Leung said the HK$500,000 donation he received last year was used for paying legal fees from several court cases involving League members.

Lee said the Labour Party had made a collective decision to let him temporarily keep the first donation of HK$500,000, but conceded there were no minutes of internal meetings to prove that.

Lee said he was happy to provide information on his personal bank account to prove he had not spent any part of the donation.

Those documents will be submitted to the legislature’s Committee on Members’ Interests, which has asked five pan-democratic lawmakers who allegedly failed to declare donations from Lai to explain the situation before it decides whether an enquiry is necessary.

The others are Democrat James To Kun-sun, Alan Leong Kah-kit and Claudia Mo Man-ching of the Civic Party.

Mo and To have denied receiving any donations from Lai.

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This article is now closed to comments

John Adams
The hypocrisy of this whole affair stinks.
It just STINKS.
In the days of Martin Lee the "democrats" had a lot of credibility. Now they have none.
.
All this hullabaloo about civil nomination is a complete red herring. Even in the USA and UK there is no true system of civil nomination. The candidates for President / Prime Minister are chosen by their parties ( and unless party candidates have an enormous financial war chest they have no chance of party nomination).
.
For a baby emerging "democratic" society like HK to dream of totally free civil nomination is pie in the sky.
We are only qualified to drink diluted milk powder.
.
What these naive pan-democrats forget is that TRUE democracy includes a system of checks and balances whereby the arrogant-come-dictatorial & highly vocal minority can never gain power over the majority.
That rules out over 90% of the pan-dems themselves!
.
Therefore if we really want true democracy we should all be working towards a system which would forever disbar these clowns who hi-jack the news media, hold society to ransom with silly things like 'occupy central', and handle party funds as if it's their own personal money.
.
I wait in hope (probably in vain) for the first pan-dem clown to fall on his sword and actually RESIGN in perpetuity over his moral and financial failings.
hkqx
Not disclosing the donation is a criminal offense. Several years ago, a legislator was jailed for not disclosing a donation. Newspapers and Legco should not have double standard. Those involved should be proscuted.
daily
These guys think they make the rules.............the best thing that these two idiots can do is step down and save whatever dignity is left of their parties.
Mikado
So now that the Pan-democrat lawmakers Lee Cheuk-yan and Leung Kwok-hung have been exposed to be taking dirty money will they resign?
captam
How many times does Democrat lawmaker (and lawyer) James To Kun-sun need to apologize before he appreciates that his handling of his personal financial dealings is not up to public expectations for an elected public figure entrusted with our lawmaking?
To is very forthright at calling on other country's national leaders to make apologies and fall on their swords but very slow when it comes to resigning over his own failings.
In 2005 To was forced to apologize over an office rent scandal he was personally responsible for.
Again in September last year Emily Lau made an apology on his and other democrats' behalves for accepting a free Cathay Pacific junket trip to Paris during which time the airline's objections to the granting of an airline operators licence to a budget airline was "aired".
Now for the third time we have another instance of donated money passing through To's hands not being declared promptly.
This is "democracy" for you folks. See how easily politicians are sweetened by big business and the rich and powerful!
honger
“In future donations will go directly to the League,” he said.
Why not in the first place? This is one reason why you need to register your society/company with the Registrar.
honger
"he feared the saga would affect the credibility of the democratic movement “at a critical stage"
Credibility? What is he talking about? Does he take all Hongkongers to be fools like the students they they have brainwashed?
Carparklee
I don't believe either that Lee will or can benefit himself from the donation. But, seems there should be more revealing.
Carparklee
If the funding was aimed for labor party in the first place, why Lee is taking a intermediate role? Is it the truth that the Labour Party is only one of the recipient meant-to-be and there is another or other potential beneficiaries under Lee's discretion? If yes, who or what are these parties? Can the public be told on this?
ngsw
Apologize for breaking no rules?

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