Lew charged with per­vert­ing jus­tice

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By KAHON CHAN in Hong Kong kahon@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Busi­ness­man Lew Mon­hung, once a close ally of Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Le­ung Chun-ying, has been charged with per­vert­ing pub­lic jus­tice for al­legedly try­ing to force the city’s chief and graftbuster to ter­mi­nate a probe against him. He will ap­pear in court on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Lew, 64, was deputy chair­man and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Pearl Ori­en­tal Oil Ltd un­til March. He was ar­rested by the In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion Against Cor­rup­tion (ICAC) on Jan 8 over graft charges linked to the com­pany’s ac­qui­si­tion deal.

The de­vel­op­ment ap­par­ently trig­gered bit­ter re­ac­tions from Lew, as ev­i­dent on an in­ter­view with iSunAf­fairs Weekly pub­lished on Jan 24, as well as two live in­ter­views with Com­mer­cial Ra­dio aired on Jan 24 and 25.

A let­ter al­legedly sent by Lew to Le­ung, dated Jan 9, was then leaked to the press by an anony­mous source in mid-Fe­bru­ary. Lew was again ar­rested by the ICAC on Feb 20, but the rea­son be­hind the act was only re­vealed on Tues­day through a state­ment.

Lew, ac­cord­ing to the anti­graft agency, faces one count of do­ing acts tend­ing and in­tended to pervert the course of pub­lic jus­tice, con­trary to Com­mon Law. The charge fo­cuses on “a se­ries of acts” done be­tween Jan 9 and 10.

Though the ICAC is seek­ing court per­mis­sion to re­trieve voice record­ings and re­porters’ notes from iSunAf­fairs Weekly and Com­mer­cial Ra­dio, the charge only fo­cused on two e-mails and a let­ter re­ceived by Le­ung and ICAC Com­mis­sioner Peh Yun-lu.

Through the let­ters, Lew was said to have al­legedly sought to ter­mi­nate the ICAC probe against him “by as­sert­ing his past deal­ings and as­so­ci­a­tion with CE Le­ung Chun-ying, by threat or by in­tim­i­da­tion” to in­flu­ence Le­ung and Peh.

The state­ment gave no de­tails. A let­ter pur­port­edly penned by Lew, pub­lished in Sing Tao Daily on Feb 20, ac­cused the probe on Pearl Ori­en­tal Oil of be­ing an act of “re­venge” and “po­lit­i­cal mur­der”.

The let­ter also sug­gested a link be­tween Lew’s crit­i­cism against the govern­ment made in Jan­uary and his ar­rest for sus­pected bribery two days later. Nei­ther Lew nor Le­ung has ver­i­fied or de­nied ac­cu­racy of this widely pub­lished let­ter.

Lew will ap­pear for the first time at the Eastern Mag­is­trates’ Court at 9:30 am to­day. He told Ca­ble TV on Tues­day that he trusts the ju­di­ciary in Hong Kong for be­ing just and said “the truth will surely be un­cov­ered”. He also sug­gested the ICAC was be­ing used as a “po­lit­i­cal tool” when he talked to Now TV.

The busi­ness­man had been a core sup­porter of Le­ung dur­ing the lat­ter’s bid for top of­fice, but was not an of­fi­cial mem­ber of the cam­paign of­fice. Lew told iSunAf­fairs he had once been promised a place in the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil, but has never been ap­pointed to any of­fi­cial post in Le­ung’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Le­ung is cur­rently on an 11- day leave. Chief Sec­re­tary for Ad­min­is­tra­tion Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is act­ing for the top post.

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