Timothy Tong Hin-ming

Let's recap: Timothy Tong Hin-ming has been the ICAC commissioner for five years. What did he do during that time? He allegedly wined and dined with the people's money, took siestas in his office after boozy lunches, boiled herbal tea, stocked up on pricey to entertain mainland officials, and took his girlfriend and mainland tycoon pals to official functions rather than other ICAC officials.

What were all the watchdog groups set up to oversee the ICAC doing in those five years? Were they "watchdogging" or perhaps partaking in the ? Media reports said Tong took an ICAC delegation on an eight-day trip to Sichuan after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.

Never mind that they spent just one day in the earthquake-hit areas but three days visiting tourist spots. The question is what the hell the Sichuan quake had to do with the ICAC anyway? It has no power to investigate the corrupt pocketing of Hong Kong donations by mainland officials.

Surely, that would have been a no-brainer question for the watchdog committees.

The Department of Justice now says there are grounds for an ICAC criminal investigation into its former boss. Tong didn't exactly hide his extravagance.

Is there no red flag system in our government that the DoJ had to rely on media exposés of Tong's wrongdoing to realise there were grounds for a criminal investigation?

What is there to investigate anyway? All the evidence the ICAC needs is inside its headquarters - a paper trail of lavish entertainment, trips to Sichuan and elsewhere, and the stockpiling of . And, of course, there are the ICAC whistle-blowers. Never mind that none of our overpaid officials saw the evidence right under their noses. Let's just ask why the ICAC hasn't yet hauled the man in for that strong cup of coffee they offer other suspects during interrogation.


What exactly does Taiwan want? Will nothing short of Philippine President Benigno Aquino bowing remorsefully in front of the world's media do? Trigger-happy Philippine coastguard tragically killed a Taiwanese fisherman. But as fellow columnist Philip Bowring noted, isn't Taiwan overdoing it by refusing to accept apologies, including one from Aquino's personal envoy?

If its intention is to humiliate the Philippines, then let's make that plain and stop all this moral outrage.

But the unfortunate fact for the Philippines is that it's a country that's easy to kick around. No one is to blame for that but the Philippines itself. What was Taiwan's first retaliatory step for the killing?

It banned the hiring of further Filipino workers. Taiwan has more than 80,000 Filipinos providing cheap labour. Hong Kong has well over 100,000.

Several years ago Hong Kong columnist Chip Tsao drew fire for cynically describing the Philippines as a nation of servants. But will anyone deny that the only reason Hong Kong still has a black travel warning against the Philippines while it awaits a formal apology for the 2010 killing of eight Hongkongers by a crazed gunman is precisely because the Philippines is considered inferior?

A mainland Chinese was among those killed by two terrorists in the recent Boston Marathon bombings.

Has China demanded a formal presidential apology or slapped a travel warning against the United States? When will the Philippines understand that rampant corruption and the export of cheap labour as its primary industry make it a target for contempt?

Yes, Taiwan is overdoing its demand for an apology but when something is easy to kick around, people will kick it.


This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Who was guarding the guards during Tong's reign?