Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Tuesday he had no plans for a reshuffle of the Executive Council or to appoint a new member to replace Barry Cheung Chun-yuen.
Last Friday, Cheung resigned from all of his public positions – including as a member to Leung’s top policy advisory body – while police investigated Cheung and his failed company the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange (HKMEx).
At first Cheung, HKMEx’s founder and former chairman, took a leave of absence but later resigned amid mounting pressure.
Speaking before a meeting with his Exco members on Tuesday morning, Leung said Cheung’s resignation did not raise the need for the appointment of new members as the council did not require a specific number, and in fact, it had more members than either of those of the Tsang and Tung administrations.
Cheung became embroiled in controversy after the commodity trader HKMEx could not show it had enough capital for nine months’ operation as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SFC). As a result, the exchange returned its licence to the SFC and stopped operations.
Some politicians have called for a review of the function and composition of Exco, which they say is losing authority following various scandals involving its members.
One area to be looked at, they suggested, was the duration of leave of absence Exco members are allowed to take.
Another Exco member, Franklin Lam Fan-keung, has been on indefinite leave of absence since November after coming under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Leung was also asked on Tuesday if he had known about the HKMEx financial problems when re-appointing Cheung as chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority.
He did not say whether he knew anything at that time. He only said Cheung had been nominated for reappointment by development secretary Chan Mo-po and he had approved it.