Calls for HK chief to quit despite apology

Many unconvinced by his claim of 'honest oversight' in building home

Pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Kwok Hung (with long hair) being blocked by security guards while trying to approach Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying (left), who was being grilled by legislators in Hong Kong yesterday. Looking on is Legislative Council Chairman Jasper Tsang (right). -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG - In cool, measured tones, Hong Kong leader Leung Chun Ying sought to convince the city and its legislature that the debacle over illegal structures at his home was a matter of "honest oversight" rather than integrity.

Even as cries of "professional conman" and "thief" rang out in the chamber during a 90-minute grilling session yesterday evening, Mr Leung apologised, for the third time, for his "negligence" that led to the discovery of illegal structures - 10, at final count - at his home at the Peak.

But his pedantic, almost lawyerly insistence that he had complied with the rules to the best of his knowledge, together with a refusal to be drawn into discussions on whether he did any soul-searching or felt any guilt, disappointed those who had hoped for a more whole-hearted and contrite apology for the six-month-long scandal.

It left the entire swathe of pan-Democrats - both moderates and radicals - excoriating him for his "arrogance" and issuing renewed calls for his resignation.