Ex-HK chief guilty of misconduct in office

Tsang, seen here with his wife Selina, is the highest-ranking former official to be charged in Hong Kong's history. The jury found him not guilty of a second misconduct charge and failed to reach a majority decision on a bribery charge.
Tsang, seen here with his wife Selina, is the highest-ranking former official to be charged in Hong Kong's history. The jury found him not guilty of a second misconduct charge and failed to reach a majority decision on a bribery charge.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Donald Tsang faces possible 7-year sentence over failure to disclose penthouse rental talks

HONG KONG • Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang, the highest- ranking former official to be charged in the city's history, has been found guilty of one charge of misconduct in public office.

The nine-person jury, however, found him not guilty of a second misconduct charge and failed to reach a majority decision on a bribery charge.

The 72-year-old had pleaded not guilty to one count of accepting an advantage and two counts of misconduct in public office between 2010 and 2012.

According to Hong Kong law, he faces a possible seven-year sentence. Sentencing will take place later but the court did not announce a date.

Tsang, who was dressed in a suit and his trademark bow tie, emerged from the court with his wife and family, looking sombre after the verdict was handed down. He gave no initial comment to the media.

He was accused of accepting refurbishment and decoration work on a three-storey penthouse in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that he had rented from the Shenzhen East Pacific Group, owned by property tycoon Bill Wong. The jury failed to reach a majority decision on this charge after deliberating for nearly two days.

The first misconduct charge was for Tsang's failure to disclose his rental negotiations with Mr Wong while his Cabinet was discussing and approving a digital broadcasting licence for a now-defunct radio company, Wave Media, in which Mr Wong was a major shareholder, according to Hong Kong's anti- graft agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

He was found guilty on this count.

The second misconduct charge was in connection with his nomination for a government award of an architect who had carried out design work on the Shenzhen penthouse. He was found not guilty of this charge.

Tsang was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his distinguished public service under the British colonial administration before Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule in 1997.

His close links with the former British colonial government created unease in Beijing and among pro-Beijing elements in Hong Kong.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-HK chief guilty of misconduct in office'. Print Edition | Subscribe