Community & Education Hong Kong Politics & Protest

More leaked audio reveals HKU Council member’s criticism of pro-democracy scholar

Council member Leonie Ki Man-fung claimed law scholar Johannes Chan Man-mun threatened and intimidated Council members to approve his pro-vice-chancellorship appointment, more leaked audio from the meeting of the Council of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has revealed.

Newly leaked audio of the September 29 meeting was broadcast on Commercial Radio on Friday morning. The station also leaked snippets of Council member Arthur Li Kwok-cheung from the meeting on Wednesday.

Leonie Ki was re-appointed as a HKU Council member by the government on Friday, for a period of three years effective November 7. It was rumoured that Arthur Li was to be appointed to be chair of the Council, but as of Friday, the appointment has not been made.

After the September 29 meeting, HKU Student Union president Billy Fung Jing-en released a statement which exposed parts of the confidential discussion. His statement claimed that Leonie Ki said that applicants with high profiles should never be hired.

In the audio recording released on Friday, Leonie Ki can be heard speaking about her opposition to Chan’s appointment at the September 29 meeting.

Johannes Chan (left) and Leonie Ki (right). File Photo: Apple Daily.

Johannes Chan (left) and Leonie Ki (right). File Photo: Apple Daily.

“Chairman, I have been a corporate CEO and employer for over 30 years, and I have interviewed and hired hundreds of people in the past. But never in my life have I encountered a candidate who will overtly and recklessly discuss his or her potential employment at any stage of the recruitment process. This in fact is already in breach of confidentiality,” she says in the recording.

“It is most unfortunate that the candidate recommended by the University Search Committee has never been tabled at this Council for deliberation, in our view we are actually doing it according to procedures,” she said.

In November last year the pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po reported that Chan had been recommended by the University Search Committee to be appointed as pro-vice-chancellor.

Threatening and intimidating

In the recording Ki says Chan should not be appointed, because he had used extreme measures to try to influence his appointment.

“I am in support of press freedom and also in sympathy with the candidate who defended himself against the criticism of some media, but apparently he has gone too far, to create controversy and use external and internal forces, directly or indirectly to lobby, pre-claim, coerce, intimidate, fabricate and sometimes even threaten Council members to approve his appointment.”

“I myself was a victim on February 12 this year, when I was accused by a local newspaper for stalling his appointment at this Council. I then had to issue a public statement to clarify that the Council has not even started to discuss this appointment. This is just one incident among many, and to me, all these tactics in fact are interference[s] with the University affairs at the highest level.”

陳文敏恐嚇?脅逼?偽造?![剛被再度委任為校委的紀文鳳否決陳文敏錄音流出!!!]錄音全文:Chairman, I have been a corporate CEO and employer for over 30 years, and I have interviewed and hired hundreds of people in the past. But never in my life have I encountered a candidate who will overtly and recklessly discuss his or her potential employment at any stage of the recruitment process. This in fact is already in breach of confidentiality. It is most unfortunate that the candidate recommended by the University Search Committee has never been tabled at this Council for deliberation, in our view we are actually doing it according to procedures. I am in support of press freedom and also in sympathy with the candidate who defended himself against the criticism of some media, but apparently he has gone too far, to create controversy and use external and internal forces, directly or indirectly to lobby, pre-claim, coerce, intimidate, fabricate and sometimes even threaten Council members to approve his appointment. I myself was a victim on Febrary12 this year, when I was accused by a local newspaper for stalling his appointment at this Council. I then had to issue a public statement to clarify that the Council has not even started to discuss this appointment. This is just one incident among many, and to me, all these tactics in fact are interferences with the University affairs at highest level. As members of the Council, and also trustee of the University, we are professionals with our independent judgment and ethics, we do our assessment based on the (…… )community at large. Given that position of the pro-vice-chancellor is responsible for academic recruitment and resources, the pro-vice-chancellor should be a role model for all, staff and students included. So I have strong reservation about the recommended candidate’s integrity and I would not accept the recommendation. Thank you.翻譯:主席,在過去超過三十年來,我一直都是企業的行政總裁及僱主,我僱用過數以百計的員工。但在我人生中,我從未遇上一個候選人,他會在招聘期間公開地、不顧一切地討論他或她有機會取得的職位,事實上這個做法已經違反了保密原則。最不幸的是,校委會至今從沒有在議程上審議物色委員會的推薦,我認為我們正在完全根據程序去處理是次任命。我非常支持新聞自由,而且非常同情這名候選人需要就媒體對他的批評作出反擊,但明顯地,他過火了,他去製造爭議,利用外間及內部的力量,直接或間接地去游說、預先表明、脅逼、恐嚇、偽造,有時甚至威嚇校委會成員去通過他的任命。今年2月12日,我就成為其中一個受害人,一份本地報章指控我在校委會中拖延他的任命,後來,我需要發表一份公開聲明,去澄清校委會甚至還未開始討論這次任命。以上事件只是眾多事件的其中之一,對我而言,這些手段都是非常嚴重地干預大學事務。作為校委的成員,以及大學的受託人,我們是專業人士,用我們獨立的判斷及道德規範,我們作出評估都是基於公眾的最大利益,因為副校長這個職位是負責學術及人力資源的工作,副校長應該是一個典範,包括教職員及學生。基於我對這名被推薦候選人的誠信非常有保留,故此我不接受這個推薦。謝謝。

Posted by 雷霆881 在晴朗的一天出發 on Thursday, 29 October 2015

“As members of the Council, and also trustees of the University, we are professionals with our independent judgment and ethics, we do our assessment based on the… community at large. Given that the position of the pro-vice-chancellor is responsible for academic recruitment and resources, the pro-vice-chancellor should be a role model for all, staff and students included. So I have strong reservations about the recommended candidate’s integrity and I would not accept the recommendation. Thank you,” Ki concluded.

On February 12, Apple Daily reported that a smear campaign against Chan had been coordinated by a camp of people who support Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Ki, a former manager of Leung’s election campaign in 2012, was appointed to the HKU Council by Leung. Ki issued a statement on the same day of the article denying the accusation.

This week the chair of the HKU Council Edward Leong Che-hung and the Education Bureau have both condemned the leaking of the Arthur Li recording. HKU has sought police assistance over the leaked recording.

More leaked audio reveals HKU Council member’s criticism of pro-democracy scholar