Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Bow-tie Tsang Begins 20-Month Prison Term

Donald Tsang (in handcuffs) was escorted to court for sentencing today
Donald Tsang Yam-kuen heard his fate this morning and the judge handed him a 20-month sentence behind bars. Tsang is now the first knighted and highest-ranked official to be convicted for misconduct.

"Never in my judicial career have I seen a man fallen from so high," said Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai. Tsang closed his eyes as he heard the sentence, while his wife Selina of almost 50 years began to cry in the public gallery.

The judge was originally going to sentence him to 30 months, but after receiving over 40 letters of mitigation from people like former Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fong On-sang, pan-democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan, and chief executive hopefuls Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and John Tsang Chun-wah, Justice Chan lowered Tsang's jail time to 20 months.

Tsang's wife Selina cried upon hearing the 20-month jail term
Justice Chan said Tsang had breached the trust placed in him by both the people of Hong Kong and the people of China.

The prosecution has already indicated it will retry the charge of misconduct regarding the alleged HK$3.35 million in renovations on his Shenzhen apartment in exchange for approving Wave Media applications when the jury failed to reach a verdict last week.

People have mixed reactions about the sentencing. Some feel Tsang didn't do any harm to anyone and so he should receive a lighter sentence, or none at all. But he was the leader of Hong Kong -- there are expectations our senior officials are supposed to exercise strong moral judgment not only on what's best for the city, but also of their own behaviour.

While he did a lot of good for Hong Kong in his 45-year career with the government, he was caught red-handed hanging out with tycoons on one of their yachts in Macau. He tried to worm his way out of it, but the evidence was stark.

Rafael Hui is serving a 7.5 year jail sentence for bribery
Tsang's sentence sets a precedence so that all civil servants know that they cannot take advantage of their positions for personal gain. If he didn't do any time for that, then we might see even more corruption cases.

But now we're two for two -- Rafael Hui Si-yan, and now Tsang. They may be reunited in Stanley prison too.

Two is already too many -- why does Hong Kong have people like this in office? More importantly why has Beijing chosen these people?

Seeing the intense media interest in Tsang's trial shows that senior officials must prove their worth, otherwise they too will suffer the same fate -- the humiliation of having fallen from so high.

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