FORMER Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang, the highest-ranking ex-official to be charged in the city’s history, was found guilty yesterday of one charge of misconduct in public office.
The nine-person jury, however, found Tsang not guilty of a second misconduct charge, and failed to reach a majority decision on a bribery charge.
Tsang, 72, had pleaded not guilty to one count of accepting an advantage and two counts of misconduct in public office between 2010 and 2012. According to Hong Kong law, Tsang faces a possible seven-year sentence. Sentencing will take place later but the court did not announce a date.
The verdict came after six weeks of testimony from witnesses including Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s former chief secretary who is in the running for the city’s leadership election next month.
Tsang, who was dressed in a suit and his trademark bow tie, emerged from the court with his wife and family, looking somber after the verdict was handed down.
He was accused of accepting refurbishment and decoration work on the three-story penthouse in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that he had rented from the Shenzhen East Pacific Group, owned by property tycoon Bill Wong Cho-bau. The jury failed to reach a majority decision on this charge.
The first misconduct charge was for Tsang’s failure to disclose his rental negotiations with Wong while his cabinet discussed and approved a digital broadcasting licence for a now defunct radio company, Wave Media, in which Wong was a major shareholder, according to Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption. He was found guilty on this count.
The second misconduct charge concerned Tsang’s nomination for a government award of an architect who had done design work on the Shenzhen penthouse. Tsang was found not guilty of that charge.