Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Former Hong Kong leader sentenced to prison

“Never in my judicial career have I seen a man fallen from so high,” stated Judge Andrew Chan Hing-wai during the sentencing.

Donald Tsang. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Convicted of misconduct in public office, former chief executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang, was recently sentenced to 20 months in prison. Although Tsang faced up to seven years in prison for misconduct in public office, the judge reduced his initial sentence of 30 months in prison down to 20 months.

Serving as chief executive of Hong Kong from 2005 to 2012, Tsang was later charged with two counts of misconduct in public office and one count of accepting an advantage after the government official failed to disclose his financial conflicts of interest. Between 2010 and 2012, Tsang secretly leased a three-story penthouse from Chinese property developer, Wong Cho-bau, while approving several of the company’s license applications.

After an interior designer redecorated the penthouse for far below market value, Tsang later nominated the designer for an official honor. Last week, a jury found Tsang guilty of one count of misconduct in public office for failing to disclose the penthouse lease, but he was acquitted of the second count of misconduct despite the fact that Tsang failed to declare his business dealings with the interior designer prior to his nomination for an official honor.

“Never in my judicial career have I seen a man fallen from so high,” stated Judge Andrew Chan Hing-wai during the sentencing.

“Today is a very dark day. The entire family is disappointed and upset,” the former chief executive’s wife, Selina Tsang, told reporters after the sentencing. Her husband is reportedly planning to appeal his conviction.

Facing up to seven years in prison for misconduct in public office, Tsang was merely sentenced to 30 months in prison. After taking into account Tsang’s public service record, the judge further reduced his sentence down to 20 months.

Due to the fact that the jury had been unable to reach a verdict regarding whether Tsang accepted the penthouse refurbishment as a bribe in exchange for political favors, the former chief executive is scheduled to be retried on one count of accepting an advantage in September.

Tsang’s deputy, former Chief Secretary Rafael Hui, was convicted of five counts of misconduct and bribery in December 2014. Sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, Hui pocketed nearly HK$19.7 million in bribes. Last year, Hui and his fellow co-defendants lost an appeal against conviction.

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