Police probing leaked recording of HKU council meeting

October 29, 2015 10:51
HKU council member Arthur Li (inset) insists everything he said in the leaked recording was above board and makes sense. Photos: HK government, HKEJ

Police are investigating a leaked recording of a University of Hong Kong (HKU) council meeting to see if any crime has been committed.

The Western Police District crime unit is handling the case after an HKU security officer filed a police report about the incident, according to Ming Pao Daily. 

Police sources called it "complicated".

The recording aired on a Commercial Radio program by talk show host Stephen Chan on Wednesday.

It was taken during a Sept. 29 meeting in which the council rejected former law dean Johannes Chan for the role of pro vice chancellor after a controversial appointment process marred by accusations of government meddling.

Council member Arthur Li is heard saying Chan is a "very nice guy" but that he has concerns that the latter does not have a higher degree such as a doctorate.

"If you look at other referee professors, they all have LLDs [Doctor of Laws]. Therefore, either he hasn’t tried or he is too busy or he doesn’t think it’s important," Li says.

Li, a former education and manpower minister, is also heard declaring his intention to succeed council chairman Edward Leong, who is due to step down next Friday.

Li later said he has no problem with the release of the secret recording, adding everything he said was "above board" and "makes sense".

Leong said he was shocked and condemned whoever was responsible for it.

The Education Bureau also denounced the leak, saying in a statement that it violates confidentiality and harms the management and operation of the university.

Johannes Chan called the contents of the recording deplorable and questioned Li's fitness to accede to the chairmanship.

Lawmaker Alan Leong, a barrister, said no criminal act was committed in the leak of the recording.

And Eric Cheung, director of clinical legal education in the HKU law faculty, said the police investigation is a waste of resources.

Barrister Albert Luk said the Department of Justice would have a hard time prosecuting the culprit because it has to prove that the act was made with intent to commit an offence or for dishonest purposes.

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