After jail, Donald Tsang vows to keep fighting to clear his name

January 16, 2019 15:40
Donald Tsang, accompanied by wife Selina, speaks to reporters on Tuesday after walking out of Queen Mary Hospital as a free man. Photo: RTHK News video/screengrab

Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang Yam-kuen vowed on Tuesday that he will continue efforts to clear his name even though he had already completed a reduced jail term for alleged misconduct in public office.

Speaking to media after leaving the custodial ward of Queen Mary Hospital, Tsang, who held Hong Kong's top political post from 2005 to 2012, stressed that as a Hongkonger he is convinced that he should keep fighting for justice and prove his innocence.

Tsang, 74, was sentenced to 20 months in prison by the High Court in February 2017 on a charge of misconduct in public office for failing to disclose to the Executive Council a property deal he had with businessman Bill Wong Cho-bau between 2010 and 2012.

He was accused of failing to make necessary disclosures, given that the Executive Council had been considering several issues relating to one of Wong’s companies, including an application for a digital radio license, at that time.

The conviction made Tsang the most senior official in Hong Kong ever to fall foul of the law. He lodged an appeal against the decision with the Court of Appeal afterwards, only to be sent back to Stanley Prison in a ruling in July last year.

However, the appeal resulted in his jail term being cut from 20 months to 12 months.

Last Friday, Tsang was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital after it was reported that he was not feeling well. After check-ups, he walked out of the hospital a free man on Tuesday, when he completed his prison sentence.

Greeted by journalists outside the hospital, Tsang told them he will not give up appealing against his conviction, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The Court of Final Appeal on Dec. 20 allowed Tsang to make a final appeal. A hearing will be held on May 14 this year.

Tsang said he won't talk about the second appeal, which is pending for the court’s handling. The second appeal is his last chance to get his conviction overturned.

The former chief executive told reporters that he just wants to go home to be with his family and lead a peaceful life, according to RTHK.

He said the first thing he hoped to do after being released is to have a nice chat with his wife, because while in prison he could only see her once a week. He added that he also looked forward to having a cup of coffee, which he had not tasted for quite some time.

"My relatives, my friends, and ex-colleagues, and many members of the public in Hong Kong, they no longer have to worry or feel sad about my suffering. So, today, the only thing in my mind is that I feel grateful, very grateful," RTHK quoted Tsang as saying.

Asked about what he thinks of the Justice Department's decision to drop a case against his successor Leung Chun-ying, who had been accused of failing to disclose controversial dealings with an Australian engineering firm while in office, Tsang refused to comment on the matter.

Comparing his and Leung’s cases may only revive feelings of anger and hatred, emotions that Tsang said he had managed to put aside a few months ago after a lot of effort.

After enjoying a meal with his wife at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Deep Water Bay, Tsang returned to his residence in Jardine's Lookout, with his wife and youngest son. He later visited a church in Mid-Levels for about half an hour in the evening.

Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang said she hopes Tsang can return to normal life as soon as possible and stay physically and mentally healthy.

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