CY's top aide kept a high profile

Top News | Phoenix Un 11 Aug 2017

Barry Cheung, who helped Leung Chun- ying get elected as Hong Kong's chief executive in 2012, ended up in court just a month after Leung's term ended.

Leung's former top aide was born into an anti-communist family in 1958, with his father Cheung Hon-chung a representative of the then-ruling Kuomintang Party of Taiwan.

He first became a full-time adviser in the Central Policy Unit in 1993 before becoming a board member of the Urban Renewal Authority in 2001. He became URA chairman in 2007, a post that gave him a high public profile.

Dubbed the "king of public office," Cheung was also a member of the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee and the Commission on Strategic Development, as well as chairman of the Corruption Prevention Advisory Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

As Leung ascended, so did Cheung who was appointed to the chief executive's inner cabinet in July 2012.

However the license of the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange Ltd, which he founded, was invalidated because of deficits and he resigned from all posts a month later amid court cases involving the Exchange.

Former legislator James Tien Pei- chun yesterday wrote a cryptic message on his own Facebook page: "Is there no follow-up to UGL?"

Questions remain on the UGL case surrounding Leung, who received HK$50 million from the Australian firm.

"It's always advantageous to be the 'big brother' because small potatoes will only become scapegoats," Tien wrote.

Besides Cheung, two rural leaders who attended a meal with Leung during his election campaign were recently arrested by police for their alleged involvement in triad activities.

Yuen Long District Councilor Tang Lai-tung, also known as "Frog Tung," and the suspected leader of the Wo Shing Wo triad society Cheung Chuen- hon, also known as "Johnny," were both attended the so-called "Siu Tao Yuen dinner" which critics alleged showed Leung's connection with triads.

The dinner was held on February 10, 2012, at the Siu Tao Yuen Restaurant in Lau Fau Shan.

Another prominent participant at the dinner was "Dream Bear" Lew Min- Hung, who was among the first public figures to endorse Leung for the top job and a member of his campaign office.

Lew, the then-member of the National Committee of NPCSC, failed to be re-appointed after Leung's election and was imprisoned for perverting the course of justice on February 29, 2016. He was released on February 27 this year.

phoenix.un@singtaonewscorp.com

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