Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has escaped legislators' scrutiny - for now - over his weekend trip to Macau that saw him hobnobbing with tycoons and staying on a luxury yacht.
Tsang also attended a banquet with high rollers and gambling operators.
Legislative Council House Committee members vetoed a request by People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip to raise an urgent oral question on the issue in today's Legco session.
Chan said it was inappropriate for Tsang to spend his holiday with tycoons as it could give an impression of a conflict of interests and also undermine civil servants' impartiality.
The vote came after both he and his wife, Selina Tsang Pou Siu-mei, were photographed with tycoons including Lifestyle International Holdings managing director Thomas Lau Luen-hung and stayed overnight on one of their yachts at the weekend.
A spokesman for the Chief Executive's office confirmed that Tsang had been with his wife in Macau, and the main purpose of the visit was grave-sweeping.
The office said the Tsangs spent time with friends and caught a show by Taiwanese singer Fei Yu-ching.
They stayed on a friend's yacht, but the office denied they were treated to extravagant meals, saying they had only a simple breakfast onboard.
They covered their own expenses when boarding their friend's yacht to return to Hong Kong.
The office said Tsang paid an amount equivalent to the fare of a commercial ferry ride between Hong Kong and Macau to the owner of the yacht, adding the couple did not go to a casino.
Some pro-establishment lawmakers said in the House Committee meeting there is no urgency to discuss the issue at today's meeting.
Of the 25 lawmakers attending yesterday's meeting, 18 voted against Chan's request to raise the question, five voted for it and two abstained.
Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing will make the final ruling on whether to allow Chan to raise the question.
A report carried by Chinese- language newspaper Oriental Daily News noted that three luxury vessels, worth around HK$400 million, sailed to a pier in Macau from Hong Kong on Friday night, adding that Tsang stayed on one of the yachts.
Tsang had extravagant meals during the trip, the newspaper said.
He was also photographed at a banquet at the VIPs-only Li Ying Club at the City of Dreams resort on Saturday night.
The report claimed that many of the guests at the event were local junket operators running gambling-related syndicates in Macau or high rollers.