Beijing knew about a HK$50 million (US$6.44 million) payment to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying from an Australian company and thought nothing of it, am730 reported Monday, citing Liaison Office chief Zhang Xiaoming.
Zhang reaffirmed Beijing’s support for the embattled Leung in a speech to pro-Beijing group Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) on Sunday.
Last week, Australian newspapers reported Leung received US$7 million in secret payments from Australian engineering firm UGL after he became chief executive.
Leung acknowledged the payment but said these were not made in secret. He denied any wrongdoing.
He spent five minutes during a half-hour exclusive interview Sunday with TVB defending his actions, saying there was nothing wrong with them “legally and ethically”.
DAB convenor Ip Kwok-him said Zhang’s remarks made it clear Leung would not be asked to step down or be replaced by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam.
Zhang said the ongoing street occupation in Hong Kong is a political struggle and a challenge to the central government in Beijing.
He said the demonstration could last for quite some time but hoped it would end as soon as possible, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Also, Zhang was quoted as saying the present situation is a bigger problem than the 2003 march which saw half a million people take to the streets to protest a proposed anti-sedition law.
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