Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Saturday accepted a request for leave of absence from beleaguered executive councillor Franklin Lam Fun-keung.
In an email sent to the media, Lam said he had successfully requested leave from his duties as a non-official Exco member until further notice. This comes only hours after Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said he did not need to resign, because she believed he was not involved in any conflict of interest.
Franklin Lam, a property market analyst appointed to Exco in July, is embroiled in a controversy which arose earlier this week. There are suspicions he might have acted on advance knowledge of the government’s introduction of a buyers’ stamp duty on property sales.
Lam was reported to have sold two properties at Casa Bella, Mid Levels, about three weeks before Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced last Friday that non-local buyers, including transactions in names of local companies, would be subject to a 15 per cent stamp duty.
It was suggested that Lam, who also held the properties in names of companies, profited from insider information obtained as an executive councillor to sell before the price dropped. The transactions have earned him about HK$10 million.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption has launched a probe on the case. ICAC chief Simon Peh Yun-lu said he would not elaborate on the investigation.