Friday, 29 August 2014

Paying the Price for Taking a Stand

Next Media's Jimmy Lai seems to know what he's up against
A witch hunt is under way with the Independent Commission Against Corruption raiding the home of Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, Next Media's chief, who is a China critic and has funded pro-democracy activities and politicians.

They arrived around 7am to his Kowloon Tong home, and the ICAC also searched the homes of Lai's assistant Mark Simon, and Labour Party legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, who admitted receiving HK$1.5 million from Lai.

Lai told Next Media management he was prepared for the raid. "There's a price to pay for taking a stand," he said.

Lee said anti-graft officers took bank statements from his home, while Simon reported five officers searched his home.

"The timing is not uncoincidental," he said. "If you wanted to cool things down, this is the last thing you would do."

An ICAC spokesman said it began its investigation after receiving corruption complaints accusing certain lawmakers of accepting advantages in breach of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

He added the agency acted impartially and without any political consideration.

Last month it was revealed that in leaked records Lai had donated millions of dollars to pan-democrats. Five pan-democratic lawmakers including Lee were accused of failing to declare the donations in the legislature.

Lee said the ICAC wanted to investigate the relationship between Lai's donations and a Legco debate on January 21 about editorial independence.

It was then that Lee mentioned reports that Standard Chartered Bank had pulled ads from local newspapers -- not mentioning Apple Daily by name -- apparently due to pressure from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, according to minutes of the meeting.

Another pro-democracy website called House News which was shut down in July, reported in January that Leung and his allies had pressed banks, including Standard Chartered, to pull ads from Apple Daily.

However, former ICAC chief investigator Stephen Char Shik-ngor, now a barrister, doubted if a "valid or logical" case could be made over any link to Lee's speech.

While the lawmakers may be technically faulted for not declaring Lai's donations, what is wrong with him doing that?

What about investigating the anti-Occupy Central movement? Where did they get all their funds to hold such a long signature campaign and two weekends ago be able to shut off the streets from Victoria Park to Chater Garden for the entire Sunday?

Oh yes -- and how much money was spent luring participants to join the anti-Occupy Central march because they got free meals and some received HK$300 in cash...

Sounds like something fishy is going on -- particularly on the eve of Occupy Central kicking off...


  1. So... how independent any more is the Independent Commission Against Corruption? I used to be in awe of Hong Kong for having the ICAC and one of the finest police forces in the world... with "used to" being the operative words there. :S

    1. Hi YTSL -- Yes... it's sad that the ICAC is giving the impression that its actions are now politically motivated, and meanwhile where is the investigation into former Chief Executive Donald Tsang at now? Surely they have enough to nail him on something?!

  2. ICAC and the HK Police are "administrators" of the HK Gov't and shoulld be patriotic and side with the PRC Chinese gov't.

    ICAC should not be called the PCAC instead "Political Commission Against Corruption"

    HK as we know is dead, now it is just a Communist SAR. Next HK will merge its Food and Hygiene department and some HK Police into a new city chengguan department with its chengguan collecting 'fees' from local businesses and beating up/arresting/killing street hawkers for not paying those 'fees'

    1. HI nulle -- Does this mean you'll be out tomorrow evening at Tamar?