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Leung Chun-ying

Hong Kong chief executive denies pressuring airport staff to break security rules over his daughter’s left-behind luggage

Baggage was allegedly delivered to CY Leung’s younger daughter from non-restricted to closed zone in airport under ‘special arrangement’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 April, 2016, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 April, 2016, 6:09pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Thursday denied he had exerted pressure on airport staff to bypass security rules to deliver a piece of left luggage to his younger daughter, who was at the boarding gate at the time.

But questions remain as to whose idea it was to deliver the luggage from a non-restricted area to a closed-off zone so that Leung Chung-yan, 23, could board her Cathay Pacific flight to San Francisco on time last month.

The Post has also learned that a junior staff member of aviation security firm Avseco, who first leaked the accusations to a Chinese-language newspaper, lost his job after the saga.

Avseco could not be reached for comment, but the Airport Authority said there was no breach of security protocol by its staff.

The Apple Daily reported that the chief executive had personally asked over the phone that Cathay staff help his daughter who had left a piece of luggage outside the restricted area when she was at the boarding gate for a flight to San Francisco on March 28.

A senior staff member from the Airport Authority reportedly arrived later at the scene and had a colleague deliver the luggage to her directly to the restricted area under a “special arrangement”.

The newspaper also published an internal Cathay document purportedly detailing the incident. But the document made no mention of the phone conversations between the chief executive and Cathay staff.

Apple also alleged that when Cathay staff addressed him as “Mr Leung”, he asked to be addressed as “Chief Executive Leung”.

In a statement, the Chief Executive’s Office said Chung-yan had not sought help from her father over the left luggage. Instead, the city’s leader phoned his daughter out of habit to say goodbye before she boarded the flight. It was then when he learned of the incident.

“Leung Chung-yan followed the boarding procedures and used the passage used by regular passengers when departing that day. [Her mother] Mrs Leung was only seeing her off at the departure hall used by regular passengers. Mrs Leung did not enter the airport restricted area or boarding gate area as claimed by the news report, and she did not wear any “special identity” as claimed by the news report,” the statement said.

It went on to clarify that the chief executive was never in touch with Airport Authority officials, but he did talk to airline staff over his daughter’s phone to find out about the incident. He wanted to know how the luggage could be retrieved if his daughter was to leave Hong Kong first, the statement said.

He also did not ask anyone to call him “Chief Executive Leung” and did not exercise any privilege that night.

The chief executive’s wife, Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, also issued a statement together with with her daughter. Hong Kong’s first lady said she did not accompany her daughter to the restricted area as alleged.

When Chung-yan realised that she had left the luggage behind, she told airport security staff from Avseco that she wanted to retrieve it by herself. The request was denied so she sought help from Cathay staff as Avseco suggested.

Staffs from the Airport Authority and Avesco later spotted the luggage in the non-restricted area. Regina Tong confirmed that it was her daughter’s luggage.

The luggage was sent back to Chung-yan after it went through security checks, the statement said, without specifying who had decided that she did not need to retrieve it herself.