My Take

With friends like Holden Chow, who needs enemies?

Inquiry into the HK$50 million CY Leung received from an Australian firm has turned into a farce, thanks to his ‘friend’ in the legislature

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 May, 2017, 2:44am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 May, 2017, 2:44am

It’s amateur hour at the Legislative Council. Everyone knows the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong is the to go-to party when officials want something done under the table.

But some of these political hacks are so incautious and incompetent they may be worse than the pan-democratic enemies the government is trying to deal with. The latest self-inflicted wound by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is a case in point. With less than two months left before he leaves office, the controversy over the undeclared HK$50 million he received from Australian firm UGL is again threatening to dominate the news headlines.

This is all thanks to the sloppy work of lawmaker and DAB vice-chairman Holden Chow Ho-ding. As vice-chairman of a Legco committee looking into the payment, he submitted a document without declaring that it had been edited with 47 amendments made by Leung’s office that laid out the scope of the inquiry drawn up by committee members.

Hong Kong leader CY Leung interfered with HK$50m fee inquiry only to clear his name, critics argue

How do we know this? Because he didn’t even bother to create a new document to incorporate the changes made by Leung. As a result, a widely used Microsoft Word function that keeps minute track of editing changes in a document makes it easy for everyone to see the alterations made by Leung and compare them with the original statements.

This is a bit like a suspect providing not only the smoking gun, but the bullet and the full ballistic report. Chow has had to make a humiliating public apology, saying he was new to Legco and was not familiar with its procedures, but adding he did nothing wrong as a matter of principle. He might as well admit the job was too much for him.

Chow and Leung then went on the offensive, saying committee documents were confidential and should not have been leaked. Really? It’s like listening to children caught with their hands in the cookie jar complaining that mum shouldn’t have made the cookies in the first place. There have been other DAB blunders, of course.

14-month timeline approved for Hong Kong Legco probe into UGL saga involving CY Leung

It was long rumoured that government officials provided questions they wanted asked in Legco to friendly lawmakers such as those from the DAB. Anti-government legislator “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung even once found a piece of paper lying around in the Legco chamber written with the words “follow-up questions provided by Security Bureau”.

With friends like the DAB, who needs enemies?