Pan-democrat legislators have failed in their bid to invoke special powers to investigate development minister Paul Chan Mo-po over a conflict of interest row involving a farmland owned by his family.
The motion to invoke the special powers was voted down 26 to 37 by members of the Legislative Council house committee on Friday afternoon. Those opposing the motion were mostly from the pro-government camp. Two legislators abstained.
Dr Kwok Ka-ki of the Civic Party, who raised the motion, had wanted to invoke special powers under Legco's Powers and Privileges Ordinance to appoint a select committee to investigate the matter.
Kwok said at Friday’s meeting Chan had failed to disclose key details related to the land in his earlier explanations and there was a need to find out the truth.
In July, Chan’s family was found to own an interest in 18,000 square feet of farmland in Kwu Tong North just as his bureau was drawing up a massive new town project that included the land. The new project will substantially increase the value of the land in the area.
Chan then explained that when he knew of the new town plan, he informed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying about his wife’s interest in the land. Shortly thereafter she sold her interest in the land to her brother.
Later, as pressure was mounting for Chan to step down, Chan's wife’s brother said he would to sell his interest in the land through open tender .