Jailed former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang Yam-kuen spoke of the “many heartaches” he had suffered, but also how he had not yet lost faith in the city, after a successful bail application won him a break from prison life on Monday. The disgraced former chief executive, who is appealing against his conviction for misconduct in office, was released on HK$100,000 bail and ordered not to leave Hong Kong. “During this time, of course I experienced many heartaches that cannot be described in writing,” he said as he walked out of the High Court with noticeably greyer hair, although a free man – for now. “But ... I still believe in Hongkongers, I still love Hong Kong. Thank you all.” In February, Tsang was convicted and jailed for 20 months for failing to declare his negotiations with a businessman over a penthouse in Shenzhen. He was found guilty on one count of misconduct in public office as the city’s chief executive between 2010 and 2012. He had lodged an appeal earlier against his conviction and sentence, and successfully applied for bail at the Court of Appeal on Monday while awaiting a hearing. Tsang, a devout Catholic, thanked his legal team as well as the public and multiple religious groups in Hong Kong, Canada and Britain for their support and sympathy. “They believed that I was innocent,” he said. He also paid tribute to his guards at the maximum-security Stanley Prison, saying they had treated him fairly during his time behind bars. “This proves that Hong Kong is a society under the rule of law,” he said. His temporary release began with his wife, Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei, speaking of Tsang’s unstable health prior to the court hearing. Tsang, 72, was escorted to the court from Queen Mary Hospital, where he had been staying, after complaining of breathing problems. During the bail application, he asked the guards near him for an inhaler. At one point his sister, Katherine Tsang King-suen, gave him water. Still sporting his trademark bow tie, Tsang spoke to his wife through a glass divider, under which they touched each other’s hands through a little gap prior to the hearing. After Mr Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen granted him bail, Tsang remained calm, while his family and relatives smiled with relief and embraced one another. Nine G4 bodyguards, charged with protecting former and current Hong Kong leaders, immediately appeared in the vicinity of the court to prepare for Tsang’s release after it was announced that he would be freed. The former chief executive was found to have deliberately concealed his negotiations over a three-storey penthouse in Shenzhen with businessman Bill Wong Cho-bau when he approved various applications, including one for a digital audio broadcasting licence for radio station Wave Media, of which Wong was a shareholder.