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Donald Tsang

‘Donald Tsang is truly a son of Hong Kong’: Letters from political foes and allies show support for former leader

Of more than 40 letters, 13 came from senior figures including chief executive candidates John Tsang and Carrie Lam, as well as former Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 February, 2017, 5:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 20 February, 2017, 8:23pm

Former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen received an “outpouring of letters” from both his political enemies and allies, his defence lawyer Clare Montgomery QC said on Monday.

In total, more than 40 letters in support of Tsang, who was found guilty of one count of misconduct in public office, were written, including 13 from senior figures.

“The reality is, there can be very few people who have served Hong Kong for longer or with greater distinction,” Montgomery said, after reading out the letters. “Mr Tsang must now serve the rest of his life out with the knowledge that his reputation had been ruined and his legacy shattered.”

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Quotes from a selection of the letters are reproduced below:

Tsang Yam-pui, the former leader’s brother and former police commissioner, on behalf of his family: “We deeply love Donald for many of his exceptional qualities: first, his generous spirit, always caring and putting other’s interests first ... We, brothers and sister of Donald, earnestly appeal to you for leniency to Donald Tsang.”

Chief executive contender John Tsang Chun-wah, who served as financial secretary under Donald Tsang: “He has acted wholeheartedly for the benefit of Hong Kong citizens.”

Former secretary for justice Wong Yan-lung SC, who wrote of how Tsang had helped Hong Kong “weather through stormy financial crises”: “Donald is truly a ‘son of Hong Kong’. His genuine concern for the public good is most vividly demonstrated when Hong Kong was caught in crises of one kind or another.”

Tsang’s parish priest Reverend Dominic Chan, who spoke of Tsang’s “religious devotion” and how he is “conscientious and caring”: “In a number of occasions, Mr Tsang has asked me to pray particularly for Hong Kong.”

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Chief executive candidate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who said Tsang had shared with her during the years that “we should keep calm and pray” whenever the going gets tough: “I pray that Your Lordship may find it appropriate to show leniency to Mr Tsang … I hope his contribution to Hong Kong would continue to be recognised.”

Former Legislative Council member Albert Ho Chun-Yan, who also wrote on behalf of 12 other Legco members: “In general, he has given his utmost effort to serve Hong Kong and its citizens in the past 40 or so years. Hence, he has our respect and acknowledgement.”

Former chief secretary for administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang, who said Tsang’s “reputation was in ruins” after his years of dedicated service “came to naught”: “Mr Tsang, his wife and his family have endured a five-year ordeal that few of us can even begin to appreciate. This is punishment in itself.”

Tsang’s former No 2 Henry Tang Ying-yen, who said Tsang showed a “dedication to public service” and was “an inspiration”: “He’s also a kind leader, willing to listen to different views and consider them in the light of the situation.”

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Former Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming SC, who said although he had heated debates with Tsang, the former chief executive had contributed greatly to Hong Kong and was a “devoted husband, caring father of his two sons and devout Catholic”: “His fall from grace at the pinnacle of his successful public service in the evening of his life is nothing less than tragic in the eye of the beholder. I would respectfully urge Your Lordship to temper justice with mercy.”

Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan Tak-Lam, who described Tsang as his “mentor and friend, a man who loves Hong Kong, and has worked dedicatedly and has served Hong Kong people for decades without a break”: “Hong Kong would not be able to survive the Asian financial crisis without Donald’s contributions.”