Pan-democratic lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan has questioned the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (ICAC) political neutrality after lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung’s arrest on Thursday for misconduct in public office.
Leung is charged with failing to declare a HK$250,000 payment from the assistant of Next Digital founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying on May 22, 2012.
Citing a similar case in which Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying failed to declare his HK$50 million secret payment from Australian company UGL Ltd after he became Hong Kong’s top official, Ho criticised the Department of Justice and ICAC for not prosecuting Leung in 2014.
Ho predicted that the government would frequently utilise similar methods against political opponents ahead of the nomination period for the Legislative Council elections next month.
“It can be expected that more cases where political opponents are attacked in the name of anti-corruption would emerge, ” Ho said.
Leung appeared at the Eastern Magistracy on Friday when the prosecution applied to transfer his case to the District Court. He said on Thursday that the ICAC’s evidence against him was collected two years ago.
Leung said that he has not thought about whether the charge was related to the election in September, but he has yet to officially announce his candidacy.
In December last year, the LegCo Committee on Members’ Interests found complaints against Leung and Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan – who received separate donations from Lai – to be unsubstantiated.
Pro-establishment lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing said that he was pleased to hear of Leung’s prosecution and called on the ICAC for stern law enforcement. He also said that the Committee on Member’s Interests had failed to prevent LegCo members from receiving benefits.