RULE OF LAW: Ex-chief executive was found guilty of misconduct between 2010 and 2012 –
Hong Kong: Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Wednesday for corruption, becoming the city’s highest ranked public official to be jailed.
The ex-Hong Kong chief executive was found guilty of misconduct in a pubic office between 2010 and 2012 last week, for failing to declare a conflict of interest when he approved various applications, including a digital broadcast licence for Wave Media radio station. At the time, 72-year-old Tsang was also in talks with a majority shareholder of Wave Media, property mogul Bill Wong Cho-bau, over a luxury Shenzhen penthouse he wanted to retire in.
Judge Andrew Chan said he saw no justification for delivering a suspended sentence, but reduced Tsang’s jail time by 10 months because of his good character and contribution to Hong Kong.
He also said that the granting of the three licences had met with little opposition elsewhere. “Had it been different the gravity of the offence would have greatly increased,” he said.
He also said that Tsang’s position as chief executive of Hong Kong and the breach of trust the crime represented was of “specific importance to the defendant’s criminality.”
Outside the court, Tsang’s wife Selina said that her husband would appeal the verdict.
“Today is a very dark day,” she told reporters. “My family and I are very disappointed and sad at the court’s decision today.
“Donald and I have been greatly troubled and felt immense pressure in the past five years. So we are very sad about today’s outcome. But we will face it with strength and courage. We will appeal.”
Tsang, chief executive of Hong Kong between 2005 to 2012, was taken into custody on Monday, but spent two nights in a guarded room at Queen Elizabeth hospital after complaining of chest pains. He had been coughing heavily throughout Monday’s session.
He was acquitted of a second count of misconduct charge on Friday, but faces a retrial on a bribery charge, for accepting free renovation work from an interior designer amounting to an estimated value of 3.35 million Hong Kong dollars ($431,000), after the jury failed to reach a decision.
During mitigation, dozens of high-profile figures called for a lenient sentence, citing Tsang’s exemplary public service record. They included opposition politicians such as Martin Lee, Anson Chan, former secretary of justice Wong Yan-lung, and chief executive candidate Carrie Lam, as well as ordinary citizens. — dpa