Saturday, 23 June 2012

Questionable Integrity

With a week to go before he becomes the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying is facing calls for his resignation when it was discovered he had six illegal structures in his home on the Peak.

He claimed they were existing when he bought the house in 2000, but his credibility is questioned as his former opponent Henry Tang Ying-yen was derided for his illegal basement in his home in Kowloon Tong.

Leung apologized for the second day in a row and last night even took reporters around his house to show them what the Buildings Department had deemed as illegal structures. They included a 240-square-foot basement that was there when Leung bought it, a covered parking space and 40-ft one-storey structure.

"I am responsible for the mistakes -- which stem from negligence when I bought the house -- and I will settle the issue as soon as possible," he said. Apparently work will start Monday as today is a public holiday.

What's even more strange is that Leung claimed to have hired professionals to inspect his property for illegal structures, so either they are incompetent or he is not telling the truth.

The pan-democrats are calling for Leung to resign, saying his integrity was "bankrupted". Albert Ho Chun-yan, the pan-democratic candidate who was defeated in the March vote for CE is considering filing an election petition. Ho's Democratic Party has already filed a complaint with the Independent Commission Against Corruption alleging Leung made false statements, possibly breaching election laws.

This issue is seriously creating a potential constitutional crisis that is making people further doubt Leung's already tattered credibility.

What is hard to understand is why the Buildings Department is so weak in not cracking down on illegal structures in the first place. Do building owners, architects and contractors submit different floor plans to this government bureau and no proper on-site inspection takes place during and after construction? Or does the Buildings Department not care about enforcing the rules?

Does this mean every other residential building has illegal structures, or does it only pertain to the rich? Why are people allowed to buy homes with existing illegal structures?

There are too many questions, but perhaps not enough time to answer all of them before Leung takes office a week from now.

It's another reason for people to get out on the streets on the same day and protest and his illegal structures on the Peak will be added to the already long list of grievances. Is this going to be a repeat of July 1, 2003 when some half a million people came out on the streets to protest?

We shall see.

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