Donald Tsang, just months away from finishing his term as Chief Executive of Hong Kong, is in the spotlight over a three-storey 6,500 sq ft penthouse in Shenzhen’s Futian district.
The luxury apartment occupying the 35th, 36th and 37th floors of an apartment building inside the Donghai Garden compound, was to serve as retirement home for him and his wife.
“I have no ambitions for my post- retirement life and I have no plan to do anything,” Tsang was quoted as saying in local papers.
“I will leave Hong Kong for a period of time immediately after leaving my post so that my successor can be free to implement [his or her] work … I think such a move is necessary,” Tsang added, praising his predecessor Tung Chee-Hwa for setting the standard in non-interference.
Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao cites two real-estate agents familiar with the situation who said the apartment — which boasts of a dozen rooms and multiple toilets according to leaked floor plans — was “a gift from the developer” to Tsang.
The agents added that the apartment could fetch approximately HK$50 million on the market and that the developer had already spent HK$17 million on renovation works alone. If the apartment were available on the market, its rental price could be as high as HK$100,000 (or 80,000 yuan).
When they attempted to make their way to the 36th floor to take pictures of the apartment, the journalists were immediately surrounded by 10 security guards from the complex, forced to delete some of the pictures on their camera, and then expelled from the grounds.
The developer of the complex is one tycoon by the name of Wong Cho-bau, who is a delegate of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference with extensive business interests in both Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
Tsang, whose term ends in June, has also been fighting accusations that he has breached the city’s anti-bribery laws after pictures of him and his wife wining and dining with high rollers on a triple deck luxury boat were splashed in local media.
Tsang admitted he accepted the luxury yacht trip offered by a tycoon and joined in a banquet at a Macau casino resort, but said he paid his own way there “at market price”.
Responding to media queries on his Shenzhen apartment last night, Tsang said, “I hope you will not always analyse issues from a negative conspiracy perspective. I’m very sad to see what is going on. And I’m very distressed, too. If this trend continues, Hong Kong will be constantly exhausted by internal strife.”
In related news, Chief Executive hopeful CY Leung has submitted his nomination papers after receiving 293 nominations from the election committee.
In a new poll conducted by the South China Morning Post, Leung found favour with 63.9 per cent of the 506 respondents.
His main contender for the post, Henry Tang — widely assumed to be the man backed by Beijing — lagged behind at just 16 percent after he was dogged by rumours of marital infidelity and found to have illegally built a basement under his swimming pool in violation of the city’s building codes.