Henry Tang Ying-yen, tipped to be Hong Kong's next chief executive, admitted publicly yesterday that he cheated on his wife.
At first he described the allegations as "very entertaining" but then a few days later said he had "strayed".
In a Chinese-language statement issued jointly with his wife Kwok Yu-chin, Tang, 59, admitted having been unfaithful. Part of it reads, "I have strayed in my love life and I feel deeply remorseful and guilty."
He said his wife had forgiven him and for that he was "very thankful".
The statement ends weeks of rumours that he had an affair with Shirley Yuen, his former administrative assistant and now CEO of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce. She strongly denied being involved and was angry for being linked with Tang's love life.
Another woman who worked as Tang's personal assistant also denied having an affair with him. "I and the other assistants had heard nothing about him having any extramarital affairs back then," said Elizabeth Chan, who now works in the PR industry.
Tang was forced to make the statement after his wife of 27 years responded to the gossip in an article published by Oriental Daily's Eastweek magazine in which she said there had been "difficult times" which were now over.
Less than two hours after Tang's statement was released, an impromptu news conference in front of his home on The Peak. The couple came out hand in hand, but said they had nothing further to add.
What is the point of that? Either say something or don't bother making an appearance.
Analysts felt that while his admission of guilt would not affect his chances of becoming Chief Executive, the lack of transparency could dog him during his campaigning.
"Whenever Tang shows up at any event, reporters will keep on asking [about his love life]," said Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung.
However some felt the confession had to come sooner rather than later in order to appease Beijing's concerns over the morality of Hong Kong's next leader.
Tang's written statement is unclear whether he only had one affair or more than one and the public relations company that issued the announcement refused to clarify, only stating that he "strayed".
Regardless, the whole event confirms men in positions of power have the urge to cheat. An article in Time magazine says there are many reasons ranging from lack of self-esteem (Bill Clinton) to narcissism (John Edwards), or those from privileged families who are indulged and show little self restraint which Tang perhaps fits in this category.
So now we have a front running chief executive candidate who comes from a wealthy family, hasn't really had to work for his money, encourages young people to aspire to be Li Ka-shing and now reveals he's cheated on his wife.
How does this bode well for Hong Kong's future?