Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying sent a legal letter “out of necessity” to Apple Daily, his spin doctor Andrew Fung Wai-kwong said in a column published in Headline Daily on Monday. Fung, the information coordinator for the Office of Chief Executive, also said that Leung does not send legal letters lightly as he “would not fight a battle he didn’t have confidence in winning.”
Leung sent a letter through his lawyers to the pro-democracy Apple Daily last week, saying that the tabloid had defamed him by publishing an editorial which accused him of corruption over a HK$50 million secret payment from Australian Corporation UGL. It also objected to name-calling by the paper and asked it to retract the editorial and cease publishing allegations of corruption.
Fung added that one only “had to think more deeply to know that there is no room for speculation on the UGL matter.”
He said that relevant companies in the UK and in Australia have not sought Leung for any kind of investigation, inquiries, or complaints, and that – furthermore – there have been no enquiries from foreign law enforcing agencies. “Could it be like that, if there were problems?” he said.
In the final paragraph, Fung said: “[U]nfortunately, those individual media outlets which say they have credibility and are the Fourth Estate don’t want to think over things calmly, and are only following their boss’ political stance, using the media to achieve political goals. Is this what a media outlet should be doing?”
Apple Daily said previously that it had handed the matter over to its lawyers.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association said on Thursday that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was “intentionally targeting the media.”