Donald Tsang

Relatives visit convicted former leader Donald Tsang in hospital ... then stock up on a few prison necessities

Underwear, towels and toothbrush among items bought and dropped off at jail ahead of sentencing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2017, 12:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2017, 10:34pm

Disgraced former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen spent a second night in custody in a public hospital on Tuesday before a court decides his fate on Wednesday.

Relatives visited him at Queen Elizabeth Hospital shortly after 9am on Tuesday and were also spotted buying and dropping off necessities at the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre – where Tsang stayed briefly upon his conviction on Monday – ahead of a likely spell behind bars.

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He was taken to hospital after complaining of feeling unwell.

His wife, Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei, and two sons, Simon Tsang Hing-yin and Thomas Tsang Hing-shun, were accompanied by Tsang’s younger brother, Charles Tsang Yam-chuen, and sister Katherine Tsang King-suen when they arrived at the hospital in Yau Ma Tei shortly after 9am.

They stayed for 45 minutes and refused to comment on Tsang’s health, but his sister said: “Please give us some space.”

Tsang, 72, became the city’s first official to be remanded in custody after the High Court refused his bail application on Monday. He was found guilty of one count of misconduct in public office by an 8-1 jury verdict last week.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai said it was unlikely that Tsang would be given a suspended sentence on Wednesday morning.

A prison insider said that three hours after Tsang arrived at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre on Monday evening and had his fingerprints and pictures taken, he claimed he had breathing problems and was rushed to the hospital.

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“Tsang was admitted to an individual ward equipped with iron gates and window frames and was under close monitoring by doctors,” the source said.

“CCTV cameras are installed inside and outside the ward for surveillance around the clock, and a prison staff member is on duty 24 hours patrolling the custodial ward to prevent prisoners from escaping.”

After visiting his father, Thomas Tsang went to a kiosk next to the reception centre and spent more than HK$560 on a range of items, including underwear, medicine, towels, hand washer, body lotion, wet tissues, toothbrush and toothpaste, chocolate and dried shredded squid.

He then dropped them at the reception centre.

According to the correctional authority, people in custody are allowed to receive approved items from visitors.

Tsang was found to have deliberately concealed from the Executive Council his ties with businessman Bill Wong Cho-bau over a three-storey penthouse in Shenzhen during the period when the council approved various applications, including one for a digital audio broadcasting licence for radio station Wave Media, of which Wong was a shareholder

But the jurors were unable to reach a verdict on a bribery charge – of the chief executive accepting an advantage – whereby Tsang is accused of accepting the free decoration of the penthouse that cost HK$3.35 million, all paid for by Wong’s company.

Tsang is facing a retrial on this charge, with the date yet to be fixed.

The jury was unanimous in acquitting the former top official on a separate count of misconduct in public office. He had been accused of putting forward interior designer Barrie Ho Chow-lai for an honour under the city’s award system without revealing to government bodies that Ho was engaged in design work for the penthouse.