Former Governor Chris Patten said he did not suspect Tung Chee-hwa was Beijing's favourite candidate for Chief Executive until Mr Tung was handpicked for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). He also claimed China was among those who helped the bubble economy along before the handover and admitted he was behind the secretive phone tapping of Chinese officials and pro-Beijing politicians. In an interview with RTHK's Newsline programme, the former Governor said he picked Mr Tung for the Executive Council simply because he represented conservative Chinese business opinion. He said he only realised the former shipping magnate might be his successor after he was elevated to the CPPCC. 'At that point, I started to think that maybe he was somebody the Chinese had tapped as a possible chief executive.' Mr Patten said China spent little time in grooming a post-handover Hong Kong leader and that had proved its lack of a strategy in the run-up to the transition. Mr Patten also distanced himself from the bubble economy which Mr Tung blamed for the economic crash. He agreed with suggestions that China was among those who sought to keep a buoyant economy ahead of the handover. 'I think there was some evidence of, not just China, but investors thinking that the breeze was in Hong Kong's sail and they should continue to blow so that Hong Kong sails smoothly through the transition. 'I don't think we could have or should have done more in the last year or two. I guess if there hadn't been the crash in the region, the market of Hong Kong would have adjusted over a period perfectly naturally to supply and demand.' Asked if he had intercepted the communications of Chinese officials in Hong Kong, Mr Patten said he signed every warrant for phone tapping, which he insisted was done within the law. Responding to Mr Tung's emphasis on 'Chineseness', the ex-Governor said the city would lose its value if its international character was abandoned. In another interview with Wharf Cable TV, Mr Patten called on the public not to criticise civil servants too much. 'One of the reasons why I felt entirely confident in delegating was that the quality of the senior civil servants was so good.'