Hong Kong’s anti-corruption watchdog has arrested lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung over his failure to declare his alleged acceptance of HK$250,000 from media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying in 2012.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said the 60-year-old lawmaker from the League of Social Democrats was charged with one count of misconduct in public office, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Lai is the founder of Next Digital Ltd. that publishes the Apple Daily newspaper and website. He is a known supporter of the pro-democracy movement.
Leung was told to appear at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning, with the prosecution reportedly set to apply for the case to be transferred to the District Court.
If convicted, Leung could be jailed for up to seven years.
His arrest came as the nomination period for Legco elections in September is set begin next month.
Leung is the first to be indicted in the corruption complaint since the ICAC launched investigations on reports that Lai allegedly donated money to several lawmakers to support their election campaigns in 2012, with the amounts being classified as “special project” in his ledger.
After being released on bail, Leung told media that he was taken away from his residence by ICAC officers at around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday.
While he refused to talk about the case, he remarked, “If someone wants to find fault with you, there is always something they can come up with.”
He said he is hiring a lawyer to defend him.
Asked if his case will have any impact on the coming Legco elections, Leung said he had been warned that some action might be taken against him as the elections approached.
The charge against him is a test of voters’ confidence for him, he said, without confirming whether or not he will seek re-election in September.
Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, who was also named as among those who allegedly received donations from Lai, said the ICAC has not contacted him so far, but he said he is not worried that he will face prosecution like Leung, who he believes is innocent.
Meanwhile, Mark Herman Simon, Lai’s right-hand man and the one who the ICAC said transferred the money to Leung on Lai’s behalf, was quoted as saying he would do nothing but stay silent about the case.
He added that he thinks Leung is a good person and a fighter for Hong Kong.
[Chinese version 中文版]
– Contact us at [email protected]