Wife of fallen former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang says 'disappointed' by ruling, will appeal

Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang was jailed for 20 months on Wednesday for misconduct in public office, making him the most senior city official to serve time behind bars in a ruling some said reaffirmed the financial hub's vaunted rule of law.
Mrs Selina Tsang (centre), flanked by her sons Thomas (right) and Simon, speaking to the media outside the Hong Kong High Court on Feb 22, 2017.
Mrs Selina Tsang (centre), flanked by her sons Thomas (right) and Simon, speaking to the media outside the Hong Kong High Court on Feb 22, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

HONG KONG - The wife of fallen former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang, who was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Wednesday (Feb 22) after being found guilty of misconduct, said she was disappointed by the ruling and would lodge an appeal.

Mrs Selina Tsang attended the sentencing in Hong Kong's High Court on Wednesday along with her two sons and relatives.

"It is a very dark day today. We feel very disappointed and upset regarding the ruling from the court today," Mrs Tsang was quoted saying by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) shortly after they left the packed court room.

"Over the past five years, we have been subject to a lot of trouble and pressure. We are therefore very sad. But we will toughen up and face it courageously. We will appeal," she said.

Donald Tsang, 72, was found guilty on Friday of failing to disclose his plans to lease a luxury flat from a major investor in a broadcaster, which was later granted a licence from the government while he was leader, AFP reported.

Tsang, who held the leadership post of chief executive for seven years from 2005, is the most senior city official ever to be convicted in a criminal trial and the highest ranking one to be put behind bars.

 

He was also acquitted on another misconduct charge, while another count of bribery that alleged he had taken the redecoration and refurbishment of the apartment as a kickback, is set for a retrial in September. The jury had on Friday failed to reach a verdict on the bribery count.

"Never in my judicial career have I seen a man fallen from so high," judge Andrew Chan said in delivering the sentence.

In acknowledgement of Tsang's four decades of public service to Hong Kong, the judge reduced his sentenced to 20 months from an original 30, but he said Tsang's breach of trust was "significant" and he had "deliberately concealed" his dealings and negotiations.

Mrs Tsang, who has been married to her husband for almost half a century, has been by his side throughout the high-profile corruption trial.

She was seen crying when the ruling was heard and left the court visibly upset, the SCMP reported. After the ruling, she visited her husband for a final time at the court's basement where he was detained.

"We are not saying goodbye. We have got a longer road ahead," she said, according to SCMP.

Tsang has credited his wife and family for standing by him throughout the trial since the investigations began five years ago.

"I owe it to my family, especially my wife of almost 50 years, for putting up with the torment of the past five years," he wrote, according to the SCMP.

"She always showed me the most understanding smile and held my hand ... Without her company, I have not a clue how I could have made it through the past five years of sorrow and hardship."