Twenty-six pro-democracy lawmakers have written to Beijing leader Yu Zhengsheng urging him to consider an alleged corruption saga surrounding Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
Leung has recently been appointed a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) – the country’s top ruling body, of which Yu is the chairman. It is rumoured Leung may become a vice-chairman of its standing committee on March 10.
Accountancy sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong said that there may be a conflict if Leung is the chief executive and a CPPCC vice-chairman at the same time.
“Additionally Leung Chun-ying is still under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption for the UGL payment, or even perhaps under investigation by the Hong Kong or foreign tax revenue departments,” he said.
Leung Chun-ying received a payment of HK$50 million from Australian company UGL in exchange for not joining rival firms within two years. Parts of the payment were received during his tenure as Hong Kong’s leader.
“If in the future something happens to Leung [following investigations], it will put the central government in a very embarrassing situation,” Kenneth Leung said.
Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting questioned whether the potential vice-chairmanship role would provide immunity to Leung Chun-ying.
He said “it was not Hong Kong’s system” that top politicians were protected from prosecution.
Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said the chief executive under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle should not, at the same time, be a state leader.
Leung resigned from his previous position in the CPPCC back in June 2012, before he officially took office as Hong Kong’s leader. Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa was only appointed as a vice-chairman of the CPPCC standing committee after he left office.
“I don’t see how Leung can do both jobs well in his remaining time,” Yeung said.
He also said Chinese President Xi Jinping often stressed that the central government should not promote problematic officials, and that appointing Leung will send a wrong message.
Their letter came after some of the pro-Beijing camp raised similar concerns.
Lo Man-tuen, a Hong Kong member of the CPPCC, told RTHK that some people within the advisory body had voiced concerns over Leung’s admission because of the ongoing UGL saga.