Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang was granted bail by a court on Monday, allowing him to walk free after he was sentenced to jail two months ago for misconduct in office.
The High Court set Tsang free on HK$100,000 cash bail pending an appeal against his conviction.
Tsang, who served as Hong Kong’s chief executive for seven years until June 2012, was on Feb. 22 sentenced to 20 months in prison and sent to Stanley Prison immediately.
He said he plans to appeal the ruling, prompting his lawyers to put in a bail application.
On Monday, the High Court approved the application, enabling the city’s former to leader to emerge from he dubbed as “indescribable hardship”.
As he left the High Court building, Tsang thanked the public for their support and also said he was grateful to be able to see his family again, RTHK reports.
He also thanked Correctional Services officers for being “fair” during his time in custody, saying the impartial treatment proves that Hong Kong is a city that upholds the rule of law.
Tsang said that although he has been distressed in recent days, he still has faith in Hong Kong people.
The High Court earlier upheld his bail application, pending his appeal against a misconduct conviction and his 20-month prison term.
No date has been fixed for the appeal yet. Tsang does not have to report to the police in the meantime, the court said.
Tsang, who had been serving his sentence in Stanley Prison following his conviction, had been lodged at Queen Mary Hospital since April 13 after he complained of breathing problems.
Tsang’s sister Katherine burst into tears of joy upon hearing the decision on the bail on Monday. But the former chief executive and his wife Selina appeared calm, RTHK noted.
Before the hearing began, Tsang’s wife had told reporters that the former CE’s health has been “fluctuating”.
In February, Tsang, 72, was found guilty of concealing a property deal with businessman Bill Wong from the Executive Council, when the council was considering a digital radio license bid and two other related applications by one of Wong’s companies.
Tsang is also facing a retrial on charges of accepting an advantage while in office. The jury could not reach a verdict the first time around. The trial has been scheduled for September 26.
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