Cheng again denies FT report that she offered to quit

December 13, 2019 13:45
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said speculation that she had been "forced to remain in her post" and similar rumors were totally fallacious. Photo: HKEJ

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah has again denied a report of The Financial Times that she had offered to quit, saying she was impressed by “the writers’ abilities to make up stories”.

In separate interviews with several Chinese-language newspapers in Hong Kong on Thursday, including Ta Kung Pao, Sing Tao Daily and Hong Kong Economic Times, Cheng stressed that she had never told the central authorities that she wanted to resign from her post because stepping down in these difficult times would be irresponsible, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

In a report last Friday, the FT cited three people familiar with the situation as saying that Cheng “had wanted to remain [in London] and resign from her government post” after sustaining injuries during a confrontation with protesters in the British capital in November.

Two days later, in response to the FT story, Cheng’s press secretary said that the justice chief did not ask to resign as the report had claimed, describing the story as completely unfounded.

“The Department of Justice has big responsibilities. There must be people who like what we do and some who don’t. But I have a clear conscience because I abide by the law and the principle of the rule of law,” Sing Tao Daily quoted Cheng as saying. 

Cheng said leaders in Beijing were very concerned about her injuries. She also said the incident made her realize "how important it was to have the country strongly supporting you", Sing Tao Daily reported.

In her interviews, Cheng said staff at the Chinese embassy in London had been very considerate and caring to her when she was hospitalized in the British capital.

She was also asked about the decision of the panel of international experts in the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) to quit the investigation into police conduct during the months-long protests.

Cheng said she would not comment on the panel's decision, but she noted that members of a similar panel formed in 2000 to investigate the short-piling scandal at a public housing project in Yuen Chau Kok were also not given the authority to summon witnesses.

While Cheng insisted that she has never intended to resign, Democratic Party lawmaker To Kun-sun suspected she was forced to stay.

To said he found it unnecessary for Beijing to put her on a flight to get treatment in the Chinese capital.

Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu slammed Cheng, saying she wanted to hold on to power just like Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu.

All of them must step down or the government will never operate properly, Yeung said.

In a statement issued through the Information Services Department on Thursday night, Cheng responded to speculation that she was forced to remain in her post.

She said she "had already denied the allegation and reiterated that she had no intention to resign".

“Anyone who made unwarranted and groundless speculation is extremely irresponsible,” she said in the statement.

Speculation that she had been "forced to remain in her post" and similar rumors were totally fallacious, she added.

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