As chief executive-elect Carrie Lam assembles her team for her incoming government, it appears that candidates have been identified for at least a few of the top posts.
The Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing sources, that former immigration chief Eric Chan Kwok-ki is likely to be appointed as head of the Chief Executive’s Office.
If the speculation turns out to be correct, Chan will take over from Edward Yau Tang-wah in the key post.
Chan, who served as Director of Immigration between 2011 and 2016, is 58 years in age.
Media reports had previously speculated that Chan could become the new security minister, but sources told the Economic Journal that he will instead be heading the CE Office.
The former immigration chief, who has been on pre-retirement leave since last year, is seen as a good choice for the CE Office as he had been stationed in Beijing for three years in the past and had established good connections with mainland officials.
The contacts he built up could help him in liaising with political parties in the Legislative Council as well as with others in the society and media, the paper noted.
Yau, meanwhile, has dismissed media reports that he will move up to a higher position.
According to EJ’s sources, the post of Secretary for Security is likely to go to John Lee Ka-chiu, who is currently an undersecretary in the Security Bureau.
If he does get elevated to ministerial rank, Lee would be Hong Kong’s first security chief who had worked previously in the Police Force.
As for the post of Chief Secretary, which is the most important among the new government appointments, it seems that Lam is still having a hard time finding a suitable replacement.
Clement Cheung Wan-ching, the sitting Secretary for the Civil Service who is seen as one of the most likely candidates for the job, is known to have declined Lam’s invitation to assume the No.1 post in her team.
Cheung is believed to have declined the offer on the ground that he needs to take care of his mother.
The other promising candidate, sitting Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, is likely to head the Education Bureau in Lam’s incoming administration.
Among other appointments, Lam is said to be finding it tough to fill the slot of Secretary for Justice, as incumbent Rimsky Yuen has decided to return to his former career as barrister, and a potential candidate, Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, also seems disinclined for the job.
A legal sector insider was quoted as saying that it will be difficult for Lam to find a person with qualification of barrister to be justice minister.
That is because eight in ten barristers in the city are with the pan-democratic camp, making it difficult to get someone who enjoys Beijing’s trust, the source said.
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