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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

HK chief Tsang sorry for shaking public confidence

(Shanghai Daily)

08:22, March 02, 2012

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang attends a question and answer session at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong March 1, 2012. (chinadaily.com.cn/agencies)


HONG Kong's leader apologized yesterday for shaking public confidence as investigators probe allegations he accepted favors from tycoons and concerns grow about relations between the southern Chinese city's top officials and the business elite.

The city's anti-corruption watchdog is investigating Chief Executive Donald Tsang over allegations he received yacht and private jet trips and a luxury apartment rental for his impending retirement from wealthy friends.

The scandal adds to growing worries about the integrity of public officials in the city that prides itself on clean government.

"This series of events has worried the public, the media, legislators and civil servants and shaken Hong Kong's public trust," Tsang told lawmakers. "I deeply apologize to the public." He appeared to choke up after making the apology.

Tsang said he would "cooperate fully" with the corruption investigation, which was launched after Avery Ng, vice chairman of the League of Social Democrats, a small political party, filed a complaint with the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The watchdog is not allowed to confirm any investigations but Ng said it told him that a probe has been launched. It would be the first to involve a Hong Kong leader still in office.

Citing privacy concerns, Tsang wouldn't disclose the names of any of the tycoons to legislators, who were worried that they were trying to influence government contracts.

Tsang has acknowledged the travel and apartment rental, which included taking a chartered jet to Japan, a private jet to Phuket, Thailand, and a trip to Macau on a friend's private yacht. He reiterated yesterday that he paid for the travel.

Tsang also said he would give up the 630-square-meter apartment in Shenzhen, across the border on China's mainland, that he was planning to rent for his impending retirement for 800,000 yuan (US$127,000) a year.

Tsang is stepping down in July and his replacement will be selected later this month at an election on March 25.

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