Thu, Nov 06, 2014 - Page 6 News List

HK pro-democracy lawmakers request inquiry into Leung


Hong Kong’s democratic lawmakers yesterday called for an official inquiry into the territory’s embattled leader, saying he “has no political integrity” after allegedly receiving sizable undeclared payments from an Australian firm.

The move came hours after former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten criticized the territory’s lack of leadership in the face of mass democracy protests that have lasted more than a month.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s (梁振英) approval ratings are at an all-time low as demonstrators continue to occupy key parts of the territory.

Adding to his woes, Leung was hit with allegations made by an Australian newspaper last month that he had failed to declare HK$50 million (US$6.5 million), that he received from Australian engineering company UGL while in office. Leung denied the claims.

The payments relate to a deal struck in December 2011 — months before Leung took office, but a week after he announced his candidacy — during UGL’s purchase of insolvent property services firm DTZ, of which Leung was director and chairman of regional operations.

Leung’s office said the deal was “a confidential commercial arrangement and a standard business practice” which did not need to be declared, but accusations of dishonesty continue to dog him.

“Leung Chun-ying has no political integrity at all ... until now he hasn’t made it clear why he didn’t make a declaration,” Lawmaker Claudia Mo (毛孟靜) said yesterday at the Legislative Council, Hong Kong’s de facto parliament.

Mo put forward a motion backed by more than 20 other lawmakers for a select committee to investigate the matter and a complaint by members of the Democracy Party has been lodged with the Corruption Bureau.

“Obviously there is something he can’t say. Are there details that he doesn’t dare come out to talk about? It’s not clear to Hong Kong people what he has been doing,” Mo said.

Speaking before the UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee late on Tuesday, Patten said that there was a “seriously sad” and “extraordinary lack of leadership” from the chief executive in response to the protests which have gripped the territory.

“The worry now is that it’s become increasingly difficult for anybody to climb down,” he said.

A group of activists protested outside China’s representative office in Hong Kong yesterday demanding the release of pro-democracy supporters who were recently arrested in China.

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