The Legislative Council committee investigating Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s alleged misconduct made no progress at its latest meeting, which was entirely devoted to discussing the leaks from the committee itself.
The select committee meeting on Thursday was held publicly for the first time since the incident surrounding lawmaker Holden Chow and Leung’s secret cooperation in modifying the scope of the investigation into the HK$50 million payment Leung received from Australian firm UGL.
But instead of focusing on the investigation’s scope, the pro-Beijing camp demanded all committee members – including four from the pro-democracy camp – sign a declaration that they did not leak the documents that revealed Leung’s involvement.
The documents were intended for a closed door meeting last month discussing the duo’s secret work. But soon after the meeting, the documents were leaked to media, and the four pro-democracy lawmakers all publicly criticised Chow and Leung over the incident.
Thursday’s meeting was initially held behind closed doors as well, but the committee agreed unanimously to make it public after 40 minutes.
Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho filed a complaint at the meeting, saying that the leaks should be investigated with respect to the comments made by the four lawmakers. Wong Kwok-kin of the Federation of Trade Unions claimed that the committee members had lost mutual trust and the group should be disbanded.
But pro-Beijing lawmaker Paul Tse, chairman of the committee, disagreed with Wong.
“If the reason for disbandment is the lack of mutual trust, I am afraid not only the committee, but the Legislative Council should be disbanded as well,” he said.
Tse said leaks should be condemned, and suggested that members sign a declaration stating they did not leak the document. But he added that he did not want the committee to investigate “a case within a case” over the leaks.
LegCo’s legal advisor noted that the committee could not be disbanded unless it had completed its report, or the LegCo term had ended. He also said that the committee has no power to require members to sign a declaration.
Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting demanded Junius Ho give proof for suggesting that they had leaked the documents.
“The pro-Beijing camp has been adopting a double standard, claiming we destroyed mutual trust by leaking [the documents]. But I have not heard them criticising Holden Chow for destroying mutual trust,” he said.
Chow resigned from the committee after the scandal. Lam added that if Wong did not want to investigate Leung, he could resign as well.
Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung asked whether Ho was trying to delay the investigation. He said that they had to know what is in the declaration and who it will apply to before signing, because many people, including lawmakers’ assistants and journalists, saw the documents and had the opportunity to leak them.
Andrew Wan of the Democratic Party said he made his comments on the incident based on the fact that Chow and Leung had publicly admitted their involvement, and so he felt falsely accused by Ho.
The committee’s agenda also included discussion of whether lawmaker Kenneth Leung, who is being sued by Leung Chun-ying, should resign from the committee. But there was no time to discuss it before the meeting ended.