Hong Kong chief executive-elect Carrie Lam puts former head of immigration in charge of office
Eric Chan immediately accepted the role of director of Lam’s interim office
Hong Kong’s incoming leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, has picked former immigration chief Eric Chan Kwok-ki to head her office before she takes over the city’s top job in July.
A source on Wednesday confirmed Chan’s appointment as director of the chief executive-elect’s office, which is to be formally announced by Lam this morning. It remains to be confirmed whether he will carry on heading the office after Lam is sworn in as chief executive on July 1.
There was speculation earlier that Lam might pick Chan as the next security minister, given past practice as well as his experience in the disciplined services. The current security minister, Lai Tung-kwok, also a former immigration chief, is expected to retire when his term ends in June. He had also been tipped by some as the next head of the city’s anti-corruption agency.
Lam is said to have picked Chan to head her office because of his commendable liaison work and good relationship with local media and mainland authorities.
He joined the Immigration Department in 1982 as an assistant immigration officer and became deputy director in 2010 before being appointed director in 2011. He retired in April last year.
While trying to put together her new cabinet, Lam has spoken of difficulties in trying to convince suitable candidates to join her leadership team. She attributed it to the political climate, which has left many reluctant to take on a government job because of the intense pressure and public scrutiny it entails.
She is also said to be facing problems trying to find a replacement for justice minister Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, who is due to retire at the end of June as well.
The Office of the Chief Executive-elect was established in March to ensure a smooth transition of power from outgoing chief executive Leung Chun-ying to his successor.
The office is tasked to support the city’s incoming leader in forming a governing team and preparing for policy plans. It also liaises with the incumbent government for a smooth transition.
At present, Jessie Ting serves as secretary-general of the office.