Legislators are making it plain that Governor Chris Patten's written reply to the public service panel on the resignation of the former director of immigration, Laurence Leung, is unlikely to achieve the desired effect. In what looked like an obvious bid to keep the lid on the affair, Mr Patten said there was nothing to add to previous statements. But the issue will be back at the top of the agenda as soon as the new session of Legco begins on October 2. A senior member of the council is planning to press the Government for more information on the case. This time, he is preparing to produce evidence as to why 55-year-old Mr Leung quit his job so suddenly in July. The word is that some administrators who know the facts are planning to plead a local version of the Fifth Amendment if they are called upon for details. Officials are normally required to give 12 months notice before leaving their post, giving the Government time to appoint a suitable replacement. The mystery surrounding Mr Leung's departure deepened when it was revealed that a new appointment had been made before the announcement that he was quitting. The present Director of Immigration, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, said she had been offered the job in June, a fortnight before the shock announcement. The Government insists that an exception was made in Mr Leung's case because of the personal nature of his request. His daughter, Sylvia Leung Sze-hon, was murdered in Vancouver in 1993 and Mr Leung explained that the mental strain of that tragedy made it difficult for him to remain in office. Another dilemma is looming if the Governor insists that two Executive Councillors, Raymond Ch'ien Kuo-fung and Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen leave the Executive Council following their application to join the selection committee. The prospect of two Exco members volunteering to take part in selecting members of a body which the Governor so vehemently opposes naturally arouses the question of whether Mr Patten will want them to go on sitting round the Exco table. But, if Mr Ch'ien and Mr Cheng were to leave Exco, an awkward state of affairs could ensue. There has been no replacement for Tung Chee-hwa, who left Exco as he mulled over running for chief executive. If two more were to leave the 13-member council, the result would be a rather large hole. For who would Mr Patten persuade to replace them? It is hardly a long-term contract, and there is not enough kudos in the job to outweigh the disapproval which could be earned in Beijing. So the betting must be that, in a fine spirit of compromise, the two prospective members of the selection committee will stay on Exco, and everybody involved will do their best to avoid raising any sensitive matters, such as the provisional legislature. Among the names now being mentioned as possible chief executive candidates is that of the former Director of Housing, Taiwanese-born Donald Liao - who was once tipped to be Hong Kong's first Chinese chief secretary. Mr Liao, an amiable, well regarded chap with an excellent relationship with China, was an impressive housing boss - even if he did predict that Hong Kong's housing problems would be solved by 1980. There was the occasional hiccup, however. At the opening ceremony at the shopping mall above Wong Tai Sin MTR, he pulled the cord and the curtain opened. Mr Liao found himself staring at a shining brass tablet which announced: 'This plague was unveiled by Donald Liao.'