Date
20 November 2017
Timothy Tong seems off the hook after a probe failed to conclude whether he committed any wrongdoing on the dining and wining issue. Photo: HKEJ
Timothy Tong seems off the hook after a probe failed to conclude whether he committed any wrongdoing on the dining and wining issue. Photo: HKEJ

Pro-Beijing legislators ‘blocked’ ICAC gift-giving probe

Pro-Beijing legislators hindered the investigation into former Independent Commission Against Corruption Timothy Tong Hin-ming because they feared it would eventually involve senior Beijing officials, Apple Daily said in a commentary on Thursday, citing unnamed members of a special committee that conducted the probe.

Earlier media reports said Tong, during his tenure at ICAC, used public funds to host and buy gifts for mainland officials, including those from the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, procurator-generals of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and senior officials in the Guangdong Provincial People’s Procuratorate.

However, in its report released on Wednesday, the Legislative Council Select Committee failed to conclude whether Tong committed any wrongdoing in his official duty visits, although it said Tong did not properly handle the hosting and gift-giving issues.

Eight pro-government legislators in the special committee endorsed the report, while five lawmakers from the pan-democratic camp refused to sign it.

According to the commentary, the report tried to play down Tong’s responsibility. The pro-government camp was not really interested in ferreting out the truth, but had been “managing the crisis” instead.

The pro-government lawmakers prevented the investigation from exposing the Beijing officials behind the scenes, an unnamed legislator told the newspaper. Meanwhile, another unidentified legislator said he believes the central government’s anti-graft investigators will eventually look into Tong’s case.

Tong welcomed the committee report, saying it has proved his innocence as he has not been charged with corruption. Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting, a former ICAC investigator, raged against Tong’s response, saying he is shameless.

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MY/JP/CG

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