Former HK leader pleads not guilty to graft charge

HONG KONG • Hong Kong's former leader Donald Tsang, who was jailed in February for 20 months for misconduct in public office, pleaded not guilty yesterday to one charge of accepting an advantage when he was in office.

Tsang, 72, was accused of accepting a service from January 2010 and June 2012 while he was Hong Kong chief executive in a high-profile bribery trial, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Tsang, appearing in court in a red bow tie, replied "plead not guilty", after an interpreter translated the charge into Cantonese for him.

The city's chief executive from 2005 to 2012, Tsang has been accused of accepting refurbishment and decoration work on a three-storey penthouse in Shenzhen.

Prosecutors said the service on the rented penthouse in the southern Chinese city was a reward for Tsang to become "favourably disposed" to radio company Wave Media, which was later renamed Digital Broadcasting Corporation, reported SCMP.

Tsang had rented the penthouse from the Shenzhen East Pacific Group, owned by property tycoon Bill Wong Cho Bau.

In February, Tsang was found guilty of misconduct for failing to disclose his rental negotiations with Mr Wong while his Cabinet was discussing and approving a digital broadcasting licence for Wave Media, in which Mr Wong was a major shareholder.

The former leader was accompanied yesterday by his wife, Ms Selina Tsang Pou Siu Mei, and brothers Tsang Yam Pui and Tsang Yam Chuen. His son, Mr Thomas Tsang Hing Shun, was also in court, SCMP reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'Former HK leader pleads not guilty to graft charge'. Print Edition | Subscribe