Former Hong Kong leader charged with misconduct

  • 06/10/2015
Donald Tsang (Reuters)
Donald Tsang (Reuters)

Hong Kong's former leader Donald Tsang has appeared in court charged with misconduct in the latest high-profile corruption case to hit the city.

Tsang, 70, has been under investigation by the city's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) since he left office in June 2012.

He was released at magistrates' court on cash bail of HK$100,000 and will appear again on November 13.

Grim-faced and wearing a trademark bow-tie, Tsang spoke only to confirm he understood the two misconduct charges.

He held the leadership post of chief executive for seven years from 2005 and would become the highest-ranking Hong Kong official to face a corruption trial.

Speaking outside court, he insisted his "conscience is clear".

"I have every confidence that the court will exonerate me at the end of its proceedings," he said.

His wife Selina who was with him said she was "deeply disheartened" by the case.

"We longed for peace and tranquillity in retirement ... instead we now find ourselves dragged into a whirlpool," she said.

The charges relate to Tsang's failure to disclose his plans to lease a luxury flat in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen which was owned by a major investor in a broadcaster seeking a licence from the Hong Kong government, the ICAC said.

Tsang also failed to declare that an architect he proposed for a government award was employed as an interior designer on the flat, the ICAC added.

The case comes less than a year after Hong Kong property tycoon Thomas Kwok and the government's former deputy leader Rafael Hui were jailed for graft, after Hui was found guilty of taking bribes from Kwok and Kwok's brother Raymond.

Hong Kong has been seen as relatively graft-free. But new cases in the semi-autonomous Chinese city have fuelled public suspicions over cosy links between authorities and business leaders.