“I believe after this, no one will dare to invite me to their yacht. And no one will invite me to their private jets.” Boo fucking hoo, you say. But those were the exact words of Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang to legislators earlier today, after an investigation was launched this week by the Independent Committee Against Corruption (ICAC).
Tsang has been on the firing line since news of him taking trips offered by rich tycoons on expensive yachts and jets were splashed out in the media.
Promising to “cooperate fully” with investigators, Tsang told lawmakers that he had “nothing to hide”. He also said that he would give up the three-storey 6,500 sq ft luxury penthouse in Shenzhen that he and his wife were going to rent as their “retirement residence” for 800,000 yuan a year.
The developer of the complex is a 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. He is said to have offered the apartment to Tsang at a special rate after spending some HK$17 million on renovation works alone.
Without naming the tycoons who invited him onto their yachts and jets, Tsang said, “The series of incidents have caused concerns from the public, media, lawmakers and civil servants, and shaken public confidence in the government. I hereby solemnly apologise to the public.”
“Regardless of whether you still trust me, please do not lose faith in the Hong Kong system,” he added.
The hearing today was interrupted by shouts of “Donald Tsang step down!” by some legislators while others held placards with slogans such as “Corrupt bow-tie, resign now!” and calling for universal suffrage.
Donald Tsang steps down in June. His successor will be elected by a 1200-member, mostly pro-Beijing, Election Committee on March 25.
Henry Tang, widely believed to be the candidate with the backing of Beijing, has also seen his popularity ratings plummet following rumours of marital infidelity and news that he had illegally built a basement under his swimming pool in violation of building regulations.
“Donald Tsang, step down now!”