Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen last night spoke for the first time about the high-profile ICAC arrest of his former right-hand man Rafael Hui Si-yan along with two property tycoons, saying his administration would spare no effort in fighting graft.
Tsang (pictured), who himself is involved in an ICAC conflict-of-interest investigation, also vowed that the Independent Commission Against Corruption would conduct its work without fear or favour.
'The government has never spared any effort in combating corruption. And we will carry on doing so,' he said in his first comments on the March 29 arrests.
'The ICAC will investigate any case with impartiality and fairness, however high the social status of a person or however senior the ranking of a government official.'
Tsang spoke shortly before departing for an 11-day visit to New Zealand, Chile and Brazil during which he will seek to advance Hong Kong's economic and trade ties.
'I hope the public would not doubt the government's determination in combating corruption,' he said, but declined to comment on the progress of the investigation.
Hui was the No2 man in the Tsang administration between mid-2005 and mid-2007.
'In the past 30-odd years, a clean government and a clean society have become deep-rooted values of our society,' Tsang said. '[That was why] Hong Kong's economy could take off so quickly.'
On a call by Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, for residents to get behind chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying, Tsang said: 'After an election, like all governments, Hong Kong would like to have stable economic development and a stable and harmonious political environment. I believe Mr Leung will work hard on this.'
Tsang's term ends on June 30.