Panel wants to know why retired Michael Wong is not charged over air tickets saga Legislators yesterday questioned the Department of Justice's decision not to prosecute retired judge Michael Wong Kin-chow for alleged expenses fraud that involved claiming $171,666 for air tickets. In a special meeting of the administration of justice and legal services panel, Director of Public Prosecutions Grenville Cross said that while Mr Wong's handling of the matter 'might be thought to be foolish', it could not be proven that he 'acted dishonestly and had a guilty mind'. As a judge, Mr Wong was entitled to an air travel allowance for himself and his wife each year. He made three separate claims - in 1998, 2000 and 2001 - for first-class tickets to China, Europe and the United States. But it emerged in media reports in 2003 - when Mr Wong was equal opportunities commissioner - that he had not paid for the tickets himself. The reports said Mr Wong claimed he was given the tickets by his daughter's then boyfriend, tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung. But Mr Cross said Mr Wong claimed the stories were 'a complete distortion' of what he had said. 'The available material pointed one way, namely, that [Mr Wong's barrister daughter Rosaline Wong Wing-yue] made the travel arrangements for her parents, and that Mr Wong duly reimbursed her in kind by paying for her shopping expenses,' Mr Cross said. Mr Wong produced cheques and receipts for $215,000 worth of women's jewellery and $139,865 worth of luxury handbags, which he claimed he gave to his daughter in 2000 and 2001 as reimbursement for the three sets of air tickets. But when pressed by lawmakers - including Ronny Tong Ka-wah and Emily Lau Wai-hing - on who actually paid for the tickets, Mr Cross would only say Miss Wong made 'the travel arrangements'. Mr Tong also asked why the Justice Department accepted Mr Wong's account of events at face value, saying he could have bought the jewellery and handbags for his wife. Mr Wong had also refused to be interviewed by the ICAC, Mr Tong noted. Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung said the ICAC investigation yielded no proof that a third party paid for the air tickets. Democrat lawmaker Martin Lee Chu-ming questioned the time gap between Mr Wong's 1998 trip and the purchase of the items. Mr Cross said the time lag was 'an odd feature' in the case, but was taken into account in arriving at the decision not to prosecute. 'A claim for reimbursement should, ideally, be meticulously evidenced,' he said. 'I have no doubt that in retrospect Mr Wong wishes he had handled this matter differently. But however foolish Mr Wong may have been, the evidence as a whole fell short of the standard required to prove that Mr Wong intended to deceive his principal.' Mr Cross said the ICAC had ensured that 'no stone was unturned' in the inquiry. Wong Yan-lung said there would be 'no parading in public of all the evidence that was gathered'.