The Legislative Council last night passed a motion calling on the chief executive and others to help secure medical parole for jailed Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong on humanitarian grounds. In response, Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said the government had assigned an official to keep in contact with Ching's family and provide necessary assistance. A motion proposed by Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun called for early release for Ching, 56, from his five-year jail term for spying for Taiwan, but was amended by the Liberals' Howard Young to call for medical parole. Ching, China correspondent of Singapore's The Straits Times, lost an appeal last month. Democrat Albert Chan Wai-yip abstained from the vote, saying to ask for medical parole suggested Ching was guilty. Mr Lee said the government had passed to mainland authorities the family's requests and a petition signed by 45 legislators calling for Ching's release on medical parole. But he said the government was limited in the help it could offer under the 'one country, two systems' formula to Hong Kong residents detained or jailed on the mainland. Mr To said the case was unjust, unfair and full of dubious evidence. Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong legislator Choy So-yuk, a friend of Ching's since university, said the DAB had reflected its concerns to state leaders during a recent Beijing visit. An emotional Ms Choy said she hoped Ching could be released and be with his family on his December 22 birthday.