Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Donald Tsang Trial Finally Starts

Donald Tsang arrives at High Court this morning with his wife Selina
We are finally here -- the start of former Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's trial for corruption charges.

For the occasion he wore a suit and his signature bow tie with his wife Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei by his side and they arrived at the High Court in Admiralty at 8.15am, over an hour before his trial was supposed to start.

In court, Tsang pleaded not guilty in a firm voice in Cantonese to each of the three charges he faces related to a three-storey rental penthouse in Shenzhen.

Tsang allegedly had dealings with Bill Wong (above)
Two of the charges are for misconduct of public office and one of a chief executive accepting an advantage, which allegedly occurred during 2010 and 2012. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.

The 72-year-old Tsang is the highest ranking official to ever face a criminal trial in Hong Kong's history.

In the first charge, Tsang is alleged as chief executive and head of the Executive Council, to engage in wilful misconduct by failing to disclose and conceal his dealings with businessman Bill Wong Cho-bau regarding the penthouse. Wong was a major shareholder of radio station Wave Media, which was later renamed Digital Broadcasting Corp, or DBC.

Tsang allegedly "approved in principle and formally granted" applications by Wong's company for a digital broadcasting license, the surrender of its AM radio license and the appointment of Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung as DBC director and board chairman without disclosing his dealings with Wong to Exco.

The second charge alleges Tsang recommended interior designer Barrie Ho Chow-lai for nomination under the city's honours and awards system between December 2010 and July 2011.

Tsang allegedly nominated Barrie Ho for a medal of honour
Under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, the corruption charge accuses Tsang of accepting an advantage -- namely the refurbishment and redecoration of the penthouse -- as an inducement or reward to perform an act as chief executive.

A jury of nine will decide Tsang's fate in this trial that is expected to last 20 days.

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