Trial of ex-Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang about triviality and revenge

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2017, 4:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 February, 2017, 9:29pm

Well done Jake van der Kamp for his comments on Donald Tsang Yam-kuen’s conviction (“Tsang conviction does HK’s reputation no favours”, February 21).

There are two words that resonate about this trial of Donald Tsang ­­– triviality and revenge.

Those of us who have applied for licences from the Hong Kong government know that the result is not decided by one person. Decisions are made on a point system of valuation relating to price, experience, time, track record and so on.

When number-crunchers and others complete the valuation, it is placed before a committee and then often rubber-stamped, but nobody takes sole responsibility.

A radio licence is hardly an earth-shattering issue. I doubt whether 90 per cent of the population care about who has a radio licence. It is certainly not a money-making business in this day of television and iPhones. I had a radio licence in Hong Kong and can’t remember what happened to it. I assume it expired and we didn’t bid to renew it. As to the accusation regarding the rental of a flat for which Donald Tsang negotiated a discount and had the landlord redecorate it before signing the lease, this is part of everyday life. Does anyone rent a flat without negotiating the price?

So we are left with “revenge”, which van der Kamp covers so precisely. Five years of agonising, vitriolic attacks on the Tsang family with final damnation and ruin for a man who served this society so well. A devastating sentence of 2½ years in Stanley Prison, reduced by a “compassionate” judge to 20 months in view of Tsang’s dedication to public service. A second trial is pending, due to start in September, so he faces more agonising torture.

The Hong Kong justice system is starting to look like that of North Korea. Surely this will be a milestone on the way down in one of the most liberal societies in Asia.

I worked closely with Tsang in the 1990s on the issue of passports for Hong Kong people. He is a man of commitment and dedication. Hong Kong owes him much and this story is far from finished. The truth will come out, as it always does, but too late for my friend.

This current government will be remembered for many faults but among the most serious will be the mindless persecution of Donald Tsang.

Simon Murray, Central