Ming Pao Daily News
25th April 2013
<Timothy Tong Hin-Ming Threw over 20 Banquets for China Liaison Office; Lawmakers Demand Investigation>
Based on Ming Pao’s investigations, Timothy Tong Hin-Ming, former Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), hosted more than two luxurious banquets for China officials. In fact, Tong had used public funding to entertain the officers from the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR (Liaison Office) over 20 times during his tenure. The abnormally frequent dinner meetings have raised public eyebrows. The two Liaison Office representatives Tong met with most frequently are Huang Lanfa, Deputy Director and Xie Xiaoqing, police liaison unit head.
Lawmakers have objected that since that the Liaison Office is not a counterpart unit to the ICAC, the frequent treats the Commissioner offered to the Liaison Office officials would certainly affect the independent law enforcement image of the ICAC.
According to reliable sources, Tong treated officials from the Liaison Office over 20 times during his (five year) tenure, of which at least 10 meetings were with Huang Lanfa and around another 10 with Xie Xiaoqing. This means that Tong used public funding to entertain officials at the Liaison Office at least four times a year. Another thing is, China officials have a tradition of “returning favours” after accepting each invitation. This means that Tong and the Liaison Office used to meet once every two months on average.
Neither the ICAC nor the Liaison Office responded to the enquiry about Tong’s frequent meetings with the Liaison Office. Tong’s mobile was switched off throughout the day as well.
One of the major evening banquets between Tong and Huang was held at the end of June 2010, and was also covered by public funding.
Based on information received, the Semtech International Holdings case brought by the ICAC was heard at the Court of Final Appeal on 28th June 2010. Lam Ping-cheung, Semtech’s lawyer nicknamed “the malignant star of ICAC”, won the court case on the day and the company was cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
According to source, Tong also treated officials from the Liaison Office in May 2010. During the same month, the ICAC appointed Ms. Li Bo-Lan as the new head of the Operations Department.
Besides officials from the Liaison Office, Tong also treated his girlfriend Chan Wing-Mui, then Deputy Director of the Immigration Department and a few of his friends to a dinner, with no other ICAC representatives present. Chan admitted to Ming Pao that she attended a dinner with the Commissioner and a few friends but stressed that there was no work relationship with Tong then.
Huang was an official at the Xinhua Agency in Hong Kong since 1990. He was later appointed to be the head of human resources of the Liaison Office in 2003 and was promoted to the Liaison Office’s Deputy Director in 2008. Both Huang and Tong were listed on the CPPCC member list this year. Xie Xiaoqing, police liaison unit head of the Liaison Office, is in charge of the liaison between China’s and Hong Kong’s uniformed force. According to archive news, Xie attended the “11th Anniversary of the Hong Kong Friends of Maotai Association” event in Shenzhen last December, Tong is a consultant to the association.
Emily Lau Wai-Hing, Chairman of the Democratic Party, said that she enquired at the Legislative Council about the entertainment activities Tong held during his tenure. Sources told her afterward that Tong meet with the officials from the Liaison Office at a number of dinner parties. The source also said that similar events were “held so frequently that you would not believe”. Lau is amazed that Tong met with the Liaison Office frequently during his tenure at the ICAC, and thinks that it is inappropriate. She said that since the Liaison Office is not a counterpart unit to the ICAC, these meetings will affect the ICAC’s image as an independent law enforcement unit. She said she has written to the Panel on Security of the Legislative Council to demand a meeting to discuss the incident.