Beijing loyalist Maria Tam Wai-chu said Tuesday that she has “respectfully declined” three donations from the entertainment industry amid controversy.

On Sunday, sixteen members of the entertainment industry donated HK$7,777,777 to the APO Relief Fund, set up by Tam for the families of the seven police officers jailed for assaulting pro-democracy activist Ken Tsang in 2014.

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Critics have questioned the backgrounds of some of the donors, alleging links to triad organisations. Lawmaker and former anti-graft officer Lam Cheuk-ting urged the police force to decline donations from people with “questionable backgrounds,” including ex-convicts.

Tam, who is in Beijing for meetings at China’s top legislature, told RTHK on Tuesday: “We respectfully declined three donations yesterday afternoon. Those donations are the ones flagged by lawmakers and discussed in the media.”

She confirmed that the donations formed part of the amount donated by members of the entertainment industry on Sunday, though she refused to name the three donors whose gifts were turned down.

maria tam
Maria Tam. File Photo: RTHK screenshot.

“I need to respect them. I don’t want to discuss other people because there are laws in Hong Kong [protecting] one’s reputation. In any case, society has questioned some of the donations, so we decided to decline them,” she said.

“Our fund aims to help people and we want our work to be low-profile.”

The relief fund has raised around HK$20 million so far, Tam confirmed on Tuesday.

Other donors

Besides members of the entertainment industry, a taxi union, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Federation of Women have also contributed to the fund.

Taxi Drivers and Operators Association
Taxi Drivers and Operators Association presented a check to the APO Relief Fund. Photo: TDOA, via Facebook.

Individual donors include ex-police chief Tang King-shing and former head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Timothy Tong Hin-ming. They respectively donated HK$20,000 and HK$10,000.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, who is the vice chair of the watchdog Independent Police Complaints Council, also gave HK$50,000 to the fund.

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.