Lew Mon-hung has been arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption over a letter allegedly threatening Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
Lew, 64, emerged from the ICAC's North Point headquarters last night burying his head in the back seat of his car. He looked distressed as he dodged away from press cameras and he did not speak.
His manner was in stark contrast to his normally highly confident bearing.
Lew - known as "Dream Bear" - arrived at the ICAC offices yesterday afternoon and stayed until 7pm. He left in his white seven-seater vehicle driven by his chauffeur. The vehicle was mobbed by scores of TV and press journalists and photographers but he did not answer questions.
Sources said Lew, a former member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, was arrested for allegedly perverting the course of justice and was released on bail.
Lew said last month that he had sent a letter to Leung in connection with an ICAC investigation into his listed company, Pearl Oriental Oil.
Though he did not reveal the contents of the letter, it is alleged he asked Leung to block the investigation - failing which he was prepared to drop a political bombshell.
It was alleged that in the letter, dated January 9 and published by media in the middle of this month, Lew reminded Leung of the help he gave him during the chief executive election campaign and accused him of ignoring the investigation against him.
"I hope that you can greet [ICAC commissioner] Peh Yun-lu and ask his subordinates to act cautiously or else a political bomb will be detonated," the letter allegedly stated.
Lew did not confirm or deny reports that he asked Leung to stop the ICAC investigation.
On January 8, Lew was arrested by the ICAC in connection with energy company Pearl Oriental Oil, of which he is vice chairman. The company's chairman, Wong Kwan, was also arrested.
In an interview with the weekly magazine iSun Affairs last month, Lew accused Leung of failing to deliver on promises he made during his election campaign.
He accused Leung of lying about the handling of the illegal structures in his Peak home and of reneging on a promise to appoint him an executive councillor in return for his support.
Lew later lost his seat in the mainland's top advisory body, the CPPCC.
In a related development, the Legislative Council yesterday rejected a motion calling on it to use its special investigatory powers to probe whether Leung misled the council over illegal works at his home.
Pan-democrat lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, who moved the motion, called Leung "a lying chief executive."
"Legco should launch the inquiry in light of allegations made by Lew against Leung," Ho said.
Only pan-democrats, who are in the minority, supported the motion.