Ver­dict on Don­ald Tsang ex­pected soon

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By LUIS LIU and LI YINZE in Hong Kong Con­tact the writ­ers at luis­liu@chi­nadai­

Hong Kong’s for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Don­ald Tsang Yamkuen’s fate may be de­cided in a day or two as a nine-mem­ber jury con­tin­ues their de­lib­er­a­tions in his cor­rup­tion trial on this morn­ing (Fri­day).

The ju­rors failed to reach a ver­dict af­ter more than nine hours of dis­cus­sions on Thurs­day.

Tsang is the high­est-rank­ing of­fi­cial in the city’s his­tory to be charged with mis­con­duct and bribery. He is fac­ing one charge of a chief ex­ec­u­tive ac­cept­ing an ad­van­tage and two charges of mis­con­duct while hold­ing a pub­lic of­fice be­tween Jan­uary 2010 and June 2012.

Tsang has de­nied all char- ges against him.

The charges cen­tered on a 6,700-square-feet three-story lux­ury pent­house in Shen­zhen, which Tsang rented from Bill Wong Chor-bau — a ma­jor share­holder of a ra­dio broad­caster, Wave Me­dia.

The broad­caster was later re­named Dig­i­tal Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion Hong Kong (DBC) and had its li­cense ap­pli­ca­tion ap­proved by the then Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil led by Tsang. How­ever, Tsang was ac­cused of fail­ure to dis­close his con­nec­tion with Wong.

Tsang was also al­leged to have with­held his ac­quain­tance with the pent­house’s in­te­rior de­signer Bar­rie Ho Chow-lai when he rec­om­mended Ho for the city’s honor and award sys­tem.

Un­der the Preven­tion of Bribery Ordinance, a CE who ac­cepts an ad­van­tage can be pun­ished with a max­i­mum fine of HK$500,000 and seven years in jail. Mean­while, each of the two mis­con­duct charges car­ries a max­i­mum of seven years in jail.

About five hours af­ter the jury started de­lib­er­a­tions at the High Court on Thurs­day, the ju­rors sent Jus­tice An­drew Chan Hing-wai, who presided over the trial, a note as they re­quested clar­i­fi­ca­tion over one of the mis­con­duct charges.

They needed a “daily-life” ex­am­ple to help them un­der­stand and de­cide on whether Tsang was guilty of de­lib­er­ately hid­ing his con­nec­tion with the in­te­rior de­signer. There­fore, the judge re­sumed court pro­ceed­ings, and both the pros­e­cu­tor and de­fen­dant de­bated on the point.

Hours later, the ju­rors raised a fur­ther ques­tion on a sep­a­rate mis­con­duct charge. They wanted to make sure that whether they had to be cer­tain in a di­rect link be­tween the gov­ern­ment’s award­ing of the ra­dio li­cense to the DBC and Wong’s al­leged pro­vi­sion of free ren­o­va­tions of the Shen­zhen apart­ment.

How­ever, they called it a day and went back to their ac­com­mo­da­tion at the High Court for the night as time ran out be­fore the judge could pro­vide an­swers to the ques­tion.

The judge briefed the jury that he will only ac­cept a unan­i­mous, or a ma­jor­ity ver­dict of at least seven to two.

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