CY Leung appoints NPC deputy to key post on Hong Kong's corruption watchdog ICAC

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 December, 2014, 3:33pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 December, 2014, 4:23pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has named a National People’s Congress deputy to a top post on the city’s anti-corruption body, sparking opposition from the pan-democratic camp.

Maria Tam Wai-chu, who is a representative on China’s legislature, was named on Friday as the new chairwoman of the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s operations review committee, the body responsible for overseeing all investigations by the graft-buster.

Among its tasks is looking into investigations that have lasted for more than a year or require “substantial resources”, according to a government statement.

Tam, who is also a member of the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, was also appointed a member of the ICAC’s Advisory Committee on Corruption.

Democrat James To Kun-sun opposed the appointment, citing Tam’s strong political opinions and possible bias.

To urged the government to retract Tam's appointment.

"Tam has many times made open comments with a strong political leaning. There will certainly be doubt over biases and political considerations when she handles individual issues in the future," To said in a statement released on Friday.

"The public will doubt the independence and impartiality of the committee," he said.

Tam's name was included in a raft of appointments and re-appointments on ICAC’s advisory panels, all for two-year terms starting on January 1 next year.

Among the new officers is Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing chief Chow Chung-kong as the new chairman of the corruption advisory committee.

Tam recently made headlines when she waded into the debate on Hong Kong's democratic development and a British inquiry on whether China had fulfilled its promises in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Tam, as an Executive Council member in 1984 and a member of the Basic Law Drafting Committee in 1985, said the pledge not to change Beijing's Hong Kong policies for 50 years was "China's own declaration".

"If there are people who want to visit Hong Kong to investigate or monitor the implementation of the joint declaration regarding political reform issues, they are missing the point," she said.

She was apparently referring to a planned trip by members of the British inquiry, who were barred by Beijing from travelling to Hong Kong last month.