Community & Education Hong Kong

Equality watchdog chief apologises again, blames ‘faulty memory’ amid academic supervision row

Equal Opportunities Commission Chief Alfred Chan Cheung-ming apologised again on Thursday for the academic supervision controversy, where he failed to declare his involvement in supervising a PhD thesis for Tarlac State University while he was a professor at Lingnan University

Chan had previously supervised the student in question, pro-establishment DAB District Councillor Annie Tang King-yung, from 2008 to 2011 for her PhD dissertation at Lingnan which was ultimately rejected.

Annie Tang and Alfred Chan

Annie Tang and Alfred Chan in the middle. Photo: Lingnan University via Apple Daily.

While Tang appealed the decision to Lingnan University, she also applied for a PhD programme at TSU, where she was supervised by Chan again. Chan also allegedly received HK$8,000 for his services. Tang was eventually able to obtain a Masters degree instead, and did so in only 18 months.

While speaking to reporters, Chan apologised again for his failure to disclose his involvement in the controversy, blaming the incident on his faulty memory, Apple Daily reported.

“I really thought I had declared it. When the media asked me about it at that time, I relied on my memory to answer their questions, but it turns out my memory at that time was faulty.”

Alfred Chan

Alfred Chan. Photo: Screenshot via Apple Daily.

When asked if he would consider resigning over the scandal, Chan stated that he would not.

“With regards to this incident, I think it is something that is easily fixed and I do not believe it has damaged the reputation of the EOC. I hope that everyone will give me some time to continue onwards, to sort out these issues so that I may settle down and conduct my business here.”

Chan was caught up in another scandal this week when he allegedly tried to intimidate University of Hong Kong associate professor Petula Ho Sik-ying, who criticised him on Facebook. Ho alleged that Chan wrote in an email that he had been working closely with three of her colleagues and supervisor, adding “I hope they [see] me from a different perspective.”

Equality watchdog chief apologises again, blames 'faulty memory' amid academic supervision row