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Donald Tsang

Alone in the dock, then Hong Kong’s former leader is mobbed by the media

Six-week trial ends with a moment of grim stoicism in court, then a blaze of flashing cameras outside

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 11:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2017, 11:45pm

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was once the most powerful man in Hong Kong, but after being found guilty of criminal misconduct on Friday night it took the 72-year-old three minutes to push through a crowd of flashing cameras and journalists to get to his car.

Minutes earlier, Tsang had stood stoically in the dock as the jury returned its verdict: guilty on one count of misconduct.

The charge carries a possible seven-year sentence, meaning Tsang, who had hoped to retire in a luxury Shenzhen penthouse, could instead be spending his twilight years behind bars.

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After hearing his fate, Tsang, who had donned a deep-red bow tie for the occasion, looked grim.

He glanced downwards, then to his right towards where his wife of almost 50 years, Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei, was sitting facing the judge.

But his wife, who has held her husband’s hand as he arrived at court every day of the trial, didn’t make eye contact.

The former leader’s 37-year-old son Thomas Tsang Hing-shun could not contain his emotions: he sobbed as he reunited with his father in a court conference room after hearing the verdict.

Many of Tsang’s family – including his siblings – appeared to have red eyes as they processed the result.

Earlier in the day, Tsang had seemed confident. “I have already said I believe in Hongkongers,” he told reporters when asked how he was feeling about the imminent verdict.

He also shared a tender moment with his wife, kissing her on the cheek before he entering the court on what was to be the last day of his six-week trial.

They left the courthouse to be greeted by a wall of over 100 local and international media.

The stoney-faced couple said nothing. Flanked by bodyguards they slowly made their way through the media pack.

“Excuse me,” the suited bodyguards said in Cantonese as they tried to push their way through.

It took them about three minutes to cover the 10 metres from the courthouse door to their seven-seater car. Even then the media blocked their path, cameras still flashing.