Date
4 December 2016
Legislators want to probe Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah (inset) on his role in the donation of HK$30 million to the Hong Kong Army Cadets Association. Photos: RTHK, CNSA
Legislators want to probe Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah (inset) on his role in the donation of HK$30 million to the Hong Kong Army Cadets Association. Photos: RTHK, CNSA

Home Affairs chief under fire over donation to cadets group

Pan-democrats have accused Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah of using his role as chairman of a non-profit organization to facilitate the donation of funds for the construction of the new headquarters of the Hong Kong Army Cadets Association (HKACA), Sing Tao Daily reports.

Founded in January last year, the HKACA is a charitable organization backed by prominent members of the establishment, including Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Liaison Office director Zhang Xiaoming and People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong commander Tan Benhong.

It offers cadets various lessons and training on leadership and physical fitness, including Chinese military marches and PLA boxing techniques.

On June 21 the Home Affairs Bureau agreed to allow the HKACA to renovate an idle schoolbuilding in Kowloon Bay to become its headquarters.

According to Ming Pao Daily, the HKACA on the same day submitted a plan to the Board of Management of the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries (BMCPC), a non-profit organization that manages four cemeteries in Hong Kong, to seek financial support for the construction work.

Lau is the chairman of the BMCPC, which is under the Home Affairs Bureau, and an adviser to the HKACA.

Two days later the BMCPC asked its relevant committee to grant the HKACA request, and on June 27 the group approved a donation worth HK$30 million.

Lawmakers from the pan-democratic camp noted that it took only six days for the HKACA to acquire funding for its new headquarters, and accused Lau of giving special treatment to the cadets association.

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong said the deal suggested a role conflict on the part of Lau, while lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting from the Democratic Party said the Home Affairs Bureau’s approval was questionable as it lacked transparency.

In a reply to enquiries, HKACA chairman Bunny Chan Chung-bun said its application for funding followed established procedures.

He said his association did not pressure the BMCPC into approving the funds through the Home Affairs Bureau or Lau, adding that its application was approved simply because it submitted a very good plan.

A spokesman for the bureau said Lau had only asked the BMCPC committee to consider donating funds to the HKACA.

He said Lau had never been involved in the operations of the HKACA, to which he is an honorary adviser.

A total of 25 pan-democrats have asked the Legislative Council to hold a special meeting to discuss Lau’s role in the donation, news website hk01.com reported.

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