Former Hong Kong chief Donald Tsang found guilty of misconduct
City's second post-handover chief executive cleared of two other charges, including one of accepting a bribe
Former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang, the veteran civil servant who was knighted for his contribution to the British empire and who successfully morphed into a faithful servant of China, was found guilty of one charge of misconduct in office on Friday.
Tsang’s conviction is the first time one of the city’s top political leaders has been found guilty in a criminal case. It follows a string of scandals, sleaze and graft allegations in recent years that included the jailing of the city’s former top civil servant, Rafael Hui, for corruption in 2014.
Nine jurors in the High Court trial found Tsang, 72, was guilty of misconduct for failing to declare that between 2010 and 2011 he was in discussions about renting a three-story penthouse in the city of Shenzhen. Those discussions were with a firm partly owned by businessman Bill Wong, whose company was applying to the government for a digital radio broadcasting license.
The jury failed to reach a majority verdict on whether Tsang was guilty of accepting as an advantage the refurbishment of the penthouse. The jury also dismissed a third charge that centered on Tsang’s failure to declare that interior designer Barrie Ho was working on the penthouse while Tsang recommended him for a government medal of honor.
In 2012 Tsang apologised in connection with separate allegations that he accepted inappropriate gifts from business friends in the form of trips on luxury yachts and private jets.
His former deputy Rafael Hui was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after being found guilty of taking bribes from Hong Kong property tycoon Thomas Kwok.
Hong Kong’s unpopular current leader Leung Chun-ying also faces allegations of corruption over receiving a reported payment of HK$50 million (US$6.5 million) from Australian engineering firm UGL before he took office.
Leung will step down as chief executive in July and his successor will be chosen by a pro-Beijing committee representing special interest groups in March.
Tsang was granted bail until Monday. He left the court in the evening without talking to the press.