Former Director of Public Prosecutions of Hong Kong Grenville Cross criticised the sluggish progress of the investigation of former Chief Executive Donald Tsang on Tuesday, saying that the length of the investigation—which has already gone on for three years and six months—could “make the Guinness World of Records.”

In an interview with Ming Pao, Cross said that most criminal cases are usually dealt with immediately, but Tsang’s case has still not been resolved after over three years of investigation. He also said that the delay in prosecution is very unfair to Tsang and that he “could not help but sympathise with the torment he’s experiencing.”

Grenville Cross. Photo: Wikicommons.

The Department of Justice said on Tuesday that it will not comment on the progress of Tsang’s corruption case. It also said that ICAC has sought independent legal advice with regards to the case and will be dealing with it fairly in accordance with the Prosecution Code.

Grenville further questioned why the prosecution of Tsang was delayed and who it was that permitted the delay. He said that the judiciary seemed to be reluctant in dealing with sensitive cases and urged Secretary of Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung to break the current deadlock. He also said that many cases arising out of the pro-democracy Occupy movement last year were straightforward but were also being delayed.

Legislative Councillor and barrister Dennis Kwok questioned whether the department prosecuted “selectively,” and said he did not understand why cases such as Tsang’s corruption and the alleged attack of Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu by seven policemen were delayed for so long. He said that he had faith in the frontline prosecutors and believed it was the supervisors who made decisions on the priority of sensitive cases. The Department of Justice responded saying that the pro-democracy Occupy movement last year has produced an unprecedented number of cases and that many of them required further investigation, so the department needs to look at all the cases as a whole so as to ensure consistency.

former chief exec donald tsang
Tsang in 2008. Photo: GovHK.

Earlier in June, Senior Counsel Keith Yeung Kar-hung said that there will be a decision on whether to prosecute Tsang for corruption in three months, meaning by the end of this month.

In 2012, allegations against Tsang receiving benefits from tycoons surfaced. It was reported that Tsang appeared several times with business tycoons on luxury jets and yachts and rented a luxury apartment in Shenzhen. Former director of public prosecutions Kevin Zervos said that the decision on the case was going to be made “soon” in 2013. In January 2015, legislator Dennis Kwok questioned Yeung on the case, and Yeung responded affirmatively on whether the decision will be made soon.

Last week, Tsang attended the WWII “Victory Day” military parade in Beijing and was seen shaking hands with Chinese Vice-president Li Yuanchao.

Tsang was Hong Kong’s chief executive from 2005 to 2012.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.