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Five heading for top

Eddie Luk

Thursday, January 31, 2013

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Defeated chief executive election candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen will be named as one of Hong Kong's five top advisors to Beijing.

The others are Tang's key supporter and Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk; Peter Lee Ka- kit, son of Henderson Land Development boss Lee Shau-kee; Lam Shu-chit, Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations chairman; and Liu Changle, the founding chairman of Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings.

They will replace five incumbent Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Standing Committee members, including former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, Sun Hung Kai Properties non-executive director Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, and Hong Kong Federation of Fujian Associations honorary chairman Jose Yu Sun-say.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had earlier resigned from the committee after winning the election.

Hui and Walter Kwok's brothers - Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen - were earlier arrested by graftbusters over bribery allegations.

Speaking in Beijing, where CPPCC Standing Committee members held meeting to finalize the membership list yesterday - committee member Chan Wing-kee confirmed that Tang was on the list due to be announced soon. The committee's four-day meeting ends tomorrow.

Chan said Tang's appointment should not be a surprise as Wharf chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching was named to the Standing Committee after running in a chief executive election.

He said Tang had been both a chief executive candidate and chief secretary.

"Tang served in the chief secretary's post. It is natural [for him] to serve as a CPPCC Standing Committee member after running in the chief executive election," Chan said.

He also confirmed that former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and incumbent CPPCC member Lew Mon- hung were not on the new list. Tsang's reputation was tainted after he admitted accepting invitations from tycoons to travel in their private jets and yachts and for staying at luxury hotels during official visits.

Chan said Hong Kong is too small a place to have two CPPCC vice chairmen and since it is likely that former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa will be re-elected, Tsang's name was dropped.

In addition, Tung has made valuable contributions to Sino-US relations and it would be natural for him to remain as vice chairman, Chan said.

Lew said the decision to drop his name was a late one following his scathing attack on Leung last week.

"Last Friday, I got a phone call from the liaison office's officials to congratulate me on the CPPCC post," Lew said.

Lew, formerly a big supporter of Leung, alleged in a magazine interview that the chief executive lied about his handling of illegal structures at his home and reneged on a promise to appoint him to the Executive Council in return for his support.

Also missing from the CPPCC line- up are Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat and Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong's Jasper Tsang Yok-sing. Lau and Tsang will be replaced by Lau Ip-keung and DAB secretary general and rising star Pang Cheung-wai.

Other new faces are former Independent Commission Against Corruption head Timothy Tong Hin-ming, former police commissioner Tang King-shing and Leung's election campaign office vice chief and New World Development executive director Leonie Ki Man- fung.

Ng Hong-man, a former local deputy to the National People's Congress, said since Donald Tsang is not on the list, he believes Beijing does not want to set a precedent that all outgoing leaders in Hong Kong and Macau will automatically assume CPPCC vice chairmen posts.

Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun said Tang served in government for a long time and is familiar with Hong Kong's affairs. Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said that if Beijing keeps appointing former senior Hong Kong officials to CPPCC posts, existing government officials may start favoring Beijing in mapping out policies to ensure future appointments.

New People's Party's Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said the appointment of a former police chief is aimed at using his experience to curb corruption in the mainland.


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