Donald Tsang

Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang says health looking up ahead of bribery trial – and mooncakes helping

Tsang, 72, says he is regaining weight as he prepares for court next week

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 September, 2017, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 September, 2017, 11:02pm

Health concerns about Donald Tsang Yam-kuen were allayed on Tuesday when the former Hong Kong leader revealed he had regained weight after munching on mooncakes ahead of the start of his bribery trial next week.

Tsang, who led the city between 2005 and 2012, will be one lawyer down compared to the three representing the prosecution when the trial kicks off in a week’s time.

But concerns about his defence team did not stop Tsang, who attended a pre-trial session at the High Court on Tuesday, revealing the good news about his health.

When asked if he had recovered some of the 4.5kg his wife said he had lost at a court appearance in May, he replied: “Yes, five pounds.”

Tsang, 72, will face one count of accepting an advantage as chief executive related to the refurbishment and redecoration of a three-storey penthouse in Shenzhen, across the border in mainland China.

The charge alleges that he was given those services as a reward for approving various applications, including a radio licence, from local station Wave Media – later renamed the Digital Broadcasting Corporation.

Hong Kong ex-leader Donald Tsang loses 4.5kg as he prepares to face corruption trial

Concerns about his health mounted when he was twice admitted to hospital earlier this year complaining of breathing problems.

In May, Tsang said his asthma had improved, but his wife, Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei, said her husband had shed an incredible amount of weight.

In addition to assuring reporters on Tuesday that his weight had been climbing, the former chief executive – clad in his signature bow tie and a navy blue suit – said he had been getting a festive taste of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on October 4, with some mooncakes, a traditional food of the holiday.

It was arranged earlier that Tsang would be represented in next week’s trial by Peter Duncan SC, Selwyn Yu SC, and Derek Chan, who will be defending against David Perry QC, Eric Kwok Tung-ming SC and Maggie Wong Pui-kei.

But Tsang will have to go without New Zealand-born Duncan, who is currently representing another defendant in a trial that has overrun.

The former leader refused to weigh in on other topics as he left court on Tuesday, including the rise of sentiment among university students advocating Hong Kong breaking away from Chinese rule.

When questioned, Tsang only put his index finger on his lips.