“My memory is fuzzy,” newly instated Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Chief Alfred Chan Cheung-ming told reporters on Tuesday as he responded to questions over his involvement in an academic supervision controversy.

“I had other responsibilities that I have to report every year, so I forgot to report [this incident],” he said. He also said that the debacle did not have any relation to his work as EOC chief.

According to local media, he declined to answer further questions and returned to his office.

Alfred Chan. Photo: Screenshot via Apple Daily.

In 2013, Chan supervised a student for her PhD thesis for Philippines’ Tarlac State University, while he was a professor at Lingnan University. However, he reportedly failed to declare his involvement to Lingnan University. He had also previously supervised the same student – pro-establishment DAB District Councillor Annie Tang King-yung – for her PhD dissertation at Lingnan University, which was rejected in 2011.

In addition, Tarlac State University (TSU) was previously found to have been involved in a “diploma mill” operation run by Lifelong College.

Annie Tang and Alfred Chan in the middle. Photo: Lingnan University via Apple Daily.

Lingnan University said that it will not pursue the case as there was no damage to the institution. It said that HK$8,000 was below the amount that requires Chan to give a cut to the university.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Joseph Lee Kok-long told said that he felt shocked by the case, saying that it was important that public officials have credibility, according to Ming Pao.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that he will let Lingnan University take care of the matter, as “this seems to be a matter between him and the university, so it should be managed by the university.”

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.