HKU council backed 'intrusive investigation' to find leaker

October 30, 2015 11:31
The HKU council is moving to prevent future leaks of confidential information. It has tapped an outside security consultant for help. Photo: HK government

Some members of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) council backed a proposal for "intrusive investigations" to nail down the leaker of confidential information from a meeting in which they rejected the appointment of former law dean Johannes Chan for pro vice chancellor.

A security consultant hired by the council after the Sept. 29 meeting made the proposal but warned it was going to be costly and time-consuming and might be a breach of personal privacy.

Nonetheless, some council members supported it, Ming Pao Daily reports, citing unnamed sources who did not identify the parties.

The proposal required extensive interviews with each council member and combing through individual e-mails.

Chairman Edward Leong held HKU Student Union president Billy Fung, a student representative to the council, responsible for the leak after the latter publicly revealed the reason for Chan's rejection.

Leong also blamed Fung for disclosing confidential information that resulted in a group of students disrupting an earlier meeting on Chan's appointment.

The council took up the consultant's report on Tuesday in a meeting from which Fung was barred.

It said he will not be allowed in future deliberations unless he explains the leak and the council is satisfied with his answers.

spokesman said no decision has been made on how future investigations will be conducted, adding the council will seek more expert opinions.

A source in the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data declined to comment.

Human rights lawyer Chong Yiu-kwong said intrusive investigations might lead to more serious leaks of secrets.

He said some council members are either businessmen or deputies to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body.

Their e-mails might contain national security secrets, he said.

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