Donald Tsang

Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang in good mood day before bribery trial set to begin

The 72-year-old former chief executive is accused of giving favour to Digital Broadcasting Corp

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 September, 2017, 12:58pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 3:13pm

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen appeared in good spirits on Monday as he entered court for his final pre-trial session before his trial on a bribery charge begins on Tuesday.

Wearing his signature bow-tie and frequently smiling, Hong Kong’s former leader strode into the High Court, in Admiralty, with his legal team as well as his wife, Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei, and his brother Charles Tsang Yam-chuen.

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Tsang, 72, the city’s former chief executive from 2005 to 2012, is facing one count of accepting an advantage in his position from January 2010 and June 2012. As per Hong Kong law, details of the pre-trial session were subject to reporting restrictions.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail and up to a HK$500,000 fine.

It is alleged that as the former leader, as well as the head of the city’s top advisory body Executive Council, Tsang accepted the refurbishment and redecoration of a three-storey penthouse at the East Pacific Garden in the Futian district of Shenzhen, the mainland city bordering Hong Kong.

Prosecutors have said the service was a reward for Tsang to become “favourably disposed” to Wave Media, which was renamed as Digital Broadcasting Corporation, by approving various applications, including a radio licence.

Tsang’s legal team on Monday including barrister Selwyn Yu SC, and Derek Chan. Handling the prosecution were British Queen’s Counsel David Perry, and Hong Kong barristers Eric Kwok Tung-ming SC and Maggie Wong Pui-kei.

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Tsang appeared to be in a good mood, similar to his hearing last week when he addressed concerns about his health after losing about 4.5kg.

On Monday, he made small talk with reporters, inquiring about the health of a journalist wearing a surgical mask.

“You caught a cold?” he said.

He left with his entourage of bodyguards, who escorted him to a seven-seater vehicle at the court’s front door, after the hearing, which began at 10am and lasted for about an hour before Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai.