In an unprecedented move, Hong Kong’s antigraft agency has announced it is investigating an alleged attempt to bribe a lawmaker to vote for the government’s electoral reform proposal.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) broke a 41-year tradition of keeping its investigations confidential unless pressed for confirmation by the media.
It said Monday it is looking into legislative councilor “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung’s claim he was offered an incentive in February to vote for the reform package in Legco, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
Leung said the ICAC had contacted him but the law prevented him from revealing any details.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying urged Long Hair on Sunday to file a complaint to the ICAC, saying his allegations were serious and of great public concern.
Sources close to the ICAC denied that political factors were involved in its decision to make the high-profile announcement, the report said.
Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting, a former ICAC investigator, said while transparency is good for the public, the agency was unusually forthcoming this time, as compared to its reticence on cases related to Leung Chun-ying or his officials.
Lam said as long as the ICAC is consistent in its handling of different cases, it will avoid giving the public an impression that people close to the chief executive would get favorable treatment.
Meanwhile, Long Hair said in a radio program Monday that he would not file a complaint with the agency, as the incident happened a long time ago.
He reiterated that a stranger phoned him and asked him to name a price for voting for the government’s electoral reform bill.
The lawmaker said that when they met later, the middleman said his boss would be able to offer him enough wealth to last him two lifetimes.
Long Hair insisted he had told only a white lie when he made up the sum of HK$100 million for the bait on offer.
He said the conversation lasted only five minutes and he did not ask for the man’s contact number.
– Contact us at [email protected]