Henry Tang Ying-yen
Back in January, Tang was confidently expecting to end the year as Hong Kong's third chief executive. But revelations of a vast, illegal structure under his Kowloon Tong home soon derailed his campaign. His poll ratings, like his famous wine collection, ended up in the basement and Beijing joined the city's elite in switching its support to Leung Chun-ying long before March's election.
Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao
The outgoing president and premier will not look back on 2012 fondly. Hu saw his acolytes kept out of the party's powerful Standing Committee in favour of followers of his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, while Wen saw revelations about his family's considerable wealth splashed all over the international media.
It all looked so promising for Mak when he took office as development minister on July 1. Just 12 days later, his political career was over. He was forced to resign amid an investigation into alleged abuse of housing allowances when he was a civil servant. He pleaded not guilty to fraud charges last week.