The chairman of one of Asia's largest trading companies and two former Hong Kong senior civil servants may be frontrunners to replace Antony Leung as financial secretary, an office where success can lead to the city's top job. \nChief executive Tung Chee-Hwa's list of candidates include Victor Fung, chairman of Li & Fung Ltd and the Airport Authority; Anthony Neoh, the city's former top securities regulator; and Rafael Hui, the former secretary for financial services, the Hong Kong Economic Times said, without citing its source. \nLeung, who may face prosecution for buying a luxury car shortly before increasing taxes on them, resigned on Wednesday. \nHis successor will face both a record budget deficit and an economy in need of stimulus. \n"A successful career as financial secretary will pave the way for the chief executive position," said Joseph Cheng, professor of political science at City University of Hong Kong. "Someone who can bring the Hong Kong economy around will certainly carry a lot of credentials." \nThe risk of failure looms large. This year's budget deficit is forecast at HK$90 billion (US$11.5 billion), and economists have said they expect the jobless rate in the city of 6.8 million to increase from the current record high of 8.6 percent. \nThe government halved this year's economic growth forecast in May to 1.5 percent because of the SARS epidemic, which killed almost 300 people in Hong Kong and caused tourists to disappear. Consumer spending, hurt when SARS kept shoppers at home, is forecast to drop 3 percent this year. \nRetailers are still burdened by 55 straight months of deflation, forcing them to lower prices and accept smaller margins. \nLeung's replacement may find himself confronting those problems from a position of weakness. Tung, who heads the government, is under fire for his handling of SARS, the economy and controversial anti-subversive legislation. Only about one in three residents was satisfied with is performance in Hong Kong University's latest popularity poll. \nThe next financial secretary must set policies for use of the city's HK$311 billion in fiscal reserves and for cutting the deficit, Cheng said. The public needs to feel that government money is being used fairly, he said.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s