It’s hard not to think about Donald Tsang after his brother and a protege made the news these past few days.
The former Hong Kong chief executive has been keeping his head down while government prosecutors decide whether or not to press corruption charges against him.
Tsang, who stepped down three years ago, might show up at the official July 1 handover anniversary celebration but he won’t be the same man.
Certainly not the kind of man his handpicked finance minister, John Tsang, emerged yesterday after a hearty handshake with President Xi Jinping at the launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing.
Donald Tsang knows the significance of a presidential handshake.
In 2005, he shook hands for 11 seconds with then President Hu Jintao and got the job as Hong Kong chief executive for seven years.
Tsang’s predecessor, Tung Chee-hwa, sealed the deal with a handshake from former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin.
John Tsang, No. 3 in the government of Leung Chun-ying, is the most popular public official by virtue of his prudent approach to Hong Kong’s finances.
Sometimes, his policies are at odds with those of his boss, which have only served to boost his stock in the public mind.
Donald Tsang will be remembered perhaps not for his lackluster administration but for apparently getting his hands dirty near the end of his term.
He stands accused of accepting advantages for wealthy patrons including a vastly discounted rent on a luxury Shenzhen flat and use of private jets and yachts.
By the end of September, he should know if he has a corruption case to answer.
Yesterday, Tsang’s younger brother, Tsang Yim-pui, 68, was appointed chief executive of NWS Holdings after serving the infrastructure and transport fkagship of tycoon Cheng Yu-tung for 10 years.
Unlike his brother, Donald Tsang did not work in the private sector or for a tycoon after he retired in 2012. He had been a medicine salesman before joining the government.
The younger Tsang, a former police commissioner and a 38-year veteran of the force, had worked in New World First Bus and New World Ferry.
He also served in China United International Rail Containers and Mapletree Investments in Singapore.
Tsang Yim-pui will receive about HK$11 million (US$1.42 million) in 2016 under his two-year contract.
In 2014, he made HK$8.75 million and got 180,000 shares of NWS valued at HK$2 million and another 3.7 million stock options.
Donald Tsang reportedly lives a quiet life in Yueng Long district, away from the spotlight, with his wife Selina.
A Hong Kong paper recently reported that he turned down a photo opportunity request from a boat cruise operator.
In the three years since he left office, Tsang has seen Hong Kong struggle with political and social turmoil under his unpopular successor.
We wonder what he would do under the present circumstances, or what he might have done differently in his time.
– Contact us at [email protected]