Leung defends lease signing to keep the pressure on FCC

Top News | Phoenix Un 14 Sep 2018

Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying defended signing the contract on the lease of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, saying if he had known its stance on independence he would not have signed it.

The lease of the club's headquarters on Lower Albert Road came under more scrutiny after the government took the initiative to publicize the contract on Wednesday.

Leung has been criticizing the FCC for inviting National Party convener Andy Chan Ho-tin to give a speech on August 14, saying the FCC, while paying token rent, provided a platform for independence advocates in government property.

The lease showed that the chief property manager of the Government Property Agency was "duly authorized by the chief executive" to extend the lease on December 29, 2015.

To add to the contradiction of Leung's criticisms, it was stated that the lease was "at a monthly rent of HK$550,000."

In response, Leung wrote two posts within three hours on his Facebook page yesterday, saying it was "very good" that the lease was publicized.

In the first post he quoted a term on the lease that the FCC should not use the premises "for any illegal or immoral purposes, and the determination of the lessor as to what constitutes illegal or immoral purposes shall be final and binding on the lessee."

Leung added that if the government is not satisfied with the use of the premises, "the lessor shall be entitled to terminate this lease and take back possession of the premises."

Leung stressed that the lease termination only needed three months' notice and no compensation shall be paid.

Leung said it was why the FCC did not include discussion about Chan's speech in the minutes of its board of governors meeting in June and July.

Leung also posted about a media inquiry as to why the lease was extended during his term as chief executive.

"The answer is simple: if the FCC invited somebody to advocate independence back then, I certainly wouldn't agree with the lease extension," Leung said.

Meanwhile, today is the deadline for the National Party to give its representation to the Security Bureau on the Assistant Societies Officer's recommendation to ban the party.

Chan said he has not submitted the defense but he has prepared it. "I've got everything ready, but I haven't decided whether to submit it or not," Chan added, without saying how he would defend his party from being banned.

He said the past two weeks were peaceful, with nobody tailing him or knocking on his door, as had happened before police recommended banning the party.

phoenix.un@singtaonewscorp.com

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