An Airport Authority report has confirmed that Cathay Pacific staff members knew the identity of the Chief Executive’s daughter during an incident involving lost luggage before they engaged in a phone call with Leung Chun-ying himself.
Leung allegedly used his position help his daughter bypass security procedures to retrieve forgotten hand baggage at the airport last month, though he has denied any wrongdoing. Airport staff members helped take the baggage into the restricted area for Ms Leung, prompting protests.
On Monday, the government released reports by Airport Authority, Cathay Pacific and airport security company AVSECO on the incident.
The report by the Airport Authority said that an operation officer at Terminal 1 received a call from Cathay Pacific requesting the Airport Authority “attend to and to release the found bag immediately because the case involved the Chief Executive’s daughter” shortly after midnight on March 28.
A phone call between an airline staff member and the Chief Executive occurred five minutes later when Leung Chung-yan passed her phone to the staff. The report did not specify the contents of the call.
Previously, Leung Chung-yan and her mother released a joint statement denying that they mentioned that Chung-yan was the Chief Executive’s daughter.
Mrs Leung ‘upset’
The Airport Authority report also said that the Chief Executive’s wife Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee appeared upset as she said she could not understand why no one could help her deliver the bag to her daughter, as she knew her and there was no forbidden items inside the bag.
The report said Mrs Leung “started to walk to the L7 North Pre-Immigration stating that she would take the bag to the boarding gate herself”. AVSECO staff members tried to stop her but she kept walking, until a Cathay Pacific staffer delivered the bag via a staff channel.
The Cathay Pacific report on the incident said Mrs Leung “ran with the bag to [the] north immigration entrance”.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said his wife did not intend to access any restricted area.
“My wife did not intend to go to the boarding gate,” he said. “We know that to go to the boarding gate, one will need to go through security checks and immigration – this is impossible and she could not have intended to.”
“Maybe someone was mistaken by my wife’s words that she wanted to go to the boarding gate – my wife has no boarding pass, it was impossible,” he added.
He said that a protest at the airport unnecessarily hurt the reputation of the Hong Kong airport. He said that some unions did not believe the explanation given by the Civil Aviation Department which stated that the incident did not affect flight safety.
Leung also condemned two reporters from Next Magazine who “harassed” his daughter at Stanford University by waiting for her outside a classroom for an extended period of time.
Next Magazine issued a statement saying that the two reporters never harassed Leung Chung-yan nor others at Stanford and that they were interviewing people involved in the incident in the name of public interest.
“Next Magazine expresses anger at Leung Chun-ying suppressing reporting work – [a man] who said he respected press freedom,” the statement read.