Disgraced former legislator Gary Cheng Kai-nam emerged from jail a contrite figure yesterday, saying sorry and asking forgiveness as he left Stanley Prison one year after his corruption conviction. Mr Cheng, 52, walked out of prison in the same blue jacket, chequered shirt, grey pants and the rimless glasses he wore when he was taken into the jail. He insisted, however, he is a different person after learning a lesson and gaining a precious experience. Mr Cheng, who revealed how thoughts of suicide had flashed through his mind at the height of the scandal in January last year, yesterday expressed thanks to all those who had given him support. 'I want to tell the people who care about me that I'm fine. I have not fallen. I am still standing. No cloud, no storm, no rainbow. I'm glad that I managed to walk past this,' he said. Mr Cheng, the former vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), was jailed for 18 months for misconduct in public office, accepting an advantage as a public servant, theft and false accounting. A remission of one third of his sentence for good behaviour meant he was freed from prison yesterday. 'I think an ideal life does not necessarily mean that you make no mistakes or don't walk a twisted road. An ideal life probably consists of both right and wrong, success and failure, joy and sadness. 'After living through the pain, you see the beauty of the best things in life,' Mr Cheng said after arriving at his home at Fairview Park, Yuen Long. Mr Cheng was found to have spoken on behalf of the Sports Development Board in three Legco meetings between October 26 and December 6, 1999, without disclosing the fact he was paid by the board as a public relations consultant. He also arranged a meeting with Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Arthur Ng Sek-hon, in which he sought to influence the selection of members for the new Sports Development Board, without revealing to Mr Ng his link to the board. He once said that hatred over his shaming was so deep in his bones that he swore to take revenge. But yesterday he said: 'It would be hard for other people to understand my feelings and experience over the last two years. Please forgive me for having such a moment of anger and loss of balance.' Mr Cheng, who denied the charges in court and vehemently protested his innocence, declined to say if he still regarded himself as innocent, but said he felt guilty for hurting other people. 'I have to be responsible for what I have said and done. Anybody who was hurt because of my behaviour and speech, I would like to say sorry,' he said. He used the word 'positive' to describe his life in prison, where he played football every morning, worked hard as a proofreader at a printing workshop, read dozens of books, started writing three of his own and reflected on his life. Asked if he wanted to become a politician again, he said he would now like to lead an ordinary life, get a job and continue to provide voluntary help to the DAB and community. He appealed to the media to give him space and time with his family. DAB chairman, Tsang Yok-sing, said they would respect Cheng's career wish and would help him the best they could.