The chief executive's wife has criticised the media for its coverage of an online post by her daughter that depicted a slashed wrist, and urged it to stop reporting on her situation.
Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee also criticised academic Ivan Choy Chi-keung for being "shallow, ignorant, cold-blooded and unfeeling" in an article published in Ming Pao on Thursday.
In his article, Choy, a politics lecturer at the Chinese University, quoted Leung Chai-yan as saying it was her father's idea to take pictures in Hyde Park after her Facebook posting, and that she thought it was a poor PR stunt.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had earlier urged the public to give his daughter space. Choy argued that it was the chief executive who was exploiting his daughter and quoted the Chinese saying, "Even a vicious tiger will not eat its cubs".
"Mr Choy based his article on fragmented information he obtained by himself and from the media and used mean words in his malicious criticism," said Regina Leung. "Mr Choy's behaviour shows he is shallow, ignorant, cold-blooded and unfeeling … I worry for his students for having such a 'teacher'."
She said she did not consult the chief executive or his office before speaking out yesterday and stressed that the whole issue was "a family matter". At one point during the press conference she was handed a phone with an incoming call from a CY Leung, though it was not clear if it was her husband calling.
"What I am saying today is not a PR stunt, and I am not playing with words," she said.
Choy said Leung's response was inappropriate. "She doesn't have to shout insults in public," he said.
Journalists Association chairwoman Sham Yee-lan said Regina Leung should realise the news value and public interest surrounding "Hong Kong's first family". "She has been a public figure for so long. She should know how the media operate here."
Former security minister Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who faced fierce criticism when she spearheaded the ill-fated national security legislation in 2003, said Regina Leung had "the right to express her views". However, she added: "If she only emphasised that the matter was a domestic affair and [that coverage] should have ended by now, it would have been easier to bring the matter to a close. But since she lashed out at Choy, people will talk back."
Democratic Party lawmaker Dr Helena Wong Pik-wan said that Regina Leung's remarks were "unnecessary".
The Chief Executive's Office said it had nothing to add.