Surgeon, politician, prolific public servant, radio host and under-siege head of the University of Hong Kong's governing body. Dr Leong Che-hung has worn several hats over the decades and been at the centre of many a storm, including a row over security for a visit by then vice-premier Li Keqiang , and fallout over the 2003 Sars outbreak. The chairman of HKU's council, subject of endless headlines for the way he has handled the debate on who should get the job as a pro-vice chancellor, won a little breathing space last week when rowdy students caused mayhem at a council meeting. Two council members were taken to hospital, overshadowing months-long public criticism of the council for bowing to political pressure by delaying the appointment of former law dean Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun, who was reportedly the only recommended candidate. In the middle of the meeting, scores of protesters invaded the venue after learning the council had again decided to defer the appointment of Chan, considered a moderate and supported by pan-democrats but viewed with suspicion by Beijing loyalists for his links to Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting. One council member, Dr Lo Chung-mau, collapsed in the middle of the shoving and had to be taken to hospital. Another, Ayesha Macpherson, was also taken to hospital after she felt unwell. She was trapped in the car park for 45 minutes as protesters barred her from leaving campus. Speaking of the chaos, Leong said: "We cannot condone uncivil activity that seeks to disrupt normal operations of the university under any circumstance. We will continue to follow the procedures and our aim is to work for what is in the best interest of the university." Democrat Dr Law Chi-kwong, an assistant professor at the university's department of social work and social administration, declined to comment on Leong's performance as council chairman but said: "I can only say that the council has badly handled the incident and in a way highly inconsistent with the usual practice of the university." But Stephen Chan Chit-kwai, chairman of the University of Hong Kong Staff Association, praised Leong. "We see that he has remained impartial throughout and has been following the procedures and rules. Sometimes, I can't help wonder why the protesters would like to press for a vote now. If there was a vote, probably the one they support would not be able to get the job," said Chan, referring to the earlier 12-6 vote by the council to defer discussion of the appointment. Leong can look back on a number of eventful episodes since joining the university council in 2004. He assumed the chairmanship in 2009 and was reappointed in 2012. His term is due to expire in November. The university was at the centre of criticism in 2007 over irregular billing of private patients at its medical faculty. The university asked Leong to head a committee to investigate. It found problems with clinical records and billing arrangements, prompting Leong to criticise the faculty for "living on its past glory" and calling for "major surgery". The university was at the vortex of a political storm in 2011 for its handling of the visit by Li Keqiang. Students and pan-democrats criticised the university for a heavy-handed security operation in which student activists who tried to get close to the hall where Li was attending a ceremony were locked up in a staircase. Leong, as council chairman, ordered an independent panel to review the issue. Then vice chancellor Professor Tsui Lap-chee offered an apology to students and decided to quit when his term ended in 2012. It was then Leong's job to find a replacement. The post was eventually offered to Professor Peter Mathieson from the University of Bristol in England. Mathieson's appointment drew heavy criticism from inside and outside the university. One of his fiercest critics was Lo Chung-mau, who deemed Mathieson "ignorant and incapable". Leong's HKU roots are deeply embedded. He graduated there in 1962 and spent 14 years in the department of surgery while conducting research in his specialist fields of urology and nephrology. Before returning as an administrator, Leong, 76, was in the public eye as a medical practitioner and politician. He was the lawmaker for the medical sector from 1988 to 2000 and was made chairman of the Hospital Authority in 2002. He stepped down from that role in 2004 to take political accountability after a Legislative Council inquiry report into the crisis caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome criticised the authority board and top management for failing to put in place a contingency plan to deal with large-scale outbreaks. Leong was singled out for having failed in his duty to make the board play a substantive role in handling the outbreak of the virus at the outset. Leong duly quit but insisted the authority had "made no mistakes". The Sars outbreak left 299 people dead in Hong Kong. Despite the Legco flak, over 1,000 nurses and doctors from 24 public hospitals issued an open letter to support Leong. He also won praise from one of his sternest critics. In a 2004 interview, Tim Pang Hung-cheong, spokesman for the Patients' Rights Association, praised Leong as the only authority chairman who would bother to meet patients' groups. Leong was soon back on active duty. In 2005 he was appointed to the Executive Council and later chairman of the Elderly Commission. As commission head he advocated for the provision of health care for the elderly to allow them to maintain their independence and enjoy a good quality of life. He hosts a radio programme on elderly lifestyles. Leong also tried his hand at labour issues in 2013 when he was appointed to head the Standard Working Hours Committee. His brother Dr John Leong Chi-yan is now chairman of the Hospital Authority.