With the Department of Justice (DoJ) announcing that it won’t press any charges against former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying over his alleged undeclared acceptance of HK$50 million from Australian firm UGL, it appears, at least for now, that the four-year-long saga is drawing to a close.
Also likely to draw to a close is the work of the Legislative Council committee that was set up in November 2016 to look into the Leung-UGL dealings.
The progress of the investigation of the Legco panel, as a matter of fact, has remained sluggish, with the committee having held only held six meetings as of date, with the most “recent” one dating back to July 12, 2017.
One reason why the Legco probe has almost ground to a complete standstill is that the defendant, Leung, has refused to appear and testify before the committee since day 1.
Now, given that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) had called it quits on its investigation and the DoJ also said it will not initiate a prosecution as there is insufficient evidence, it is a matter of time before the Legco select committee, too, officially wraps up its work. And the pro-establishment camp has a good rationale to bring the panel to a halt.
Lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun, chairman of the select committee, said on Thursday that he hasn’t received any suggestion from members for officially ending the investigation yet, but added that its fate will be up for discussion at the upcoming meeting on Jan. 10 next year.
Given the fact that pro-establishment lawmakers account for seven out of the total 11 members of the committee, it is widely expected to be a slam dunk for the pro-Beijing camp to terminate the Legco investigation.
As far as Leung is concerned, he has remained silent over the past two days since the DoJ announced its decision on Wednesday to drop the case.
Nor did he bother to rebut on social media the accusations made against him by the pan-dems who are still after him. It marked a different strategy compared to what he usually did in the past.
When Leung attended a public event on Thursday, his lips remained sealed.
A pro-establishment figure has estimated that the reason why Leung has preferred to remain silent on this matter is because he could have been told by the top brass not to talk too much in order to avoid adding to the pressure on the city’s current leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, and the DoJ.
That said, the person also remarked that it’s anybody’s guess as to whether Leung will continue to keep restraining himself, given his well-known penchant to hit back at critics.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 14
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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