A pro-democracy lawmaker has highlighted a potential conflict of interest after former chief executive Leung Chun-ying became a director of two companies with names related to the “Belt and Road” and Pearl River Delta “Bay Area” development initiatives.

Peter Sit – who was previously Leung’s lawyer – founded Belt and Road Hong Kong Centre Company Limited and Bay Area Hong Kong Centre Company Limited in July, according a Company Registry search. On  September 1, Leung officially became a director of both limited by guarantee non-profit companies.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting questioned whether Leung had declared his roles to the Advisory Committee on Post-office Employment for Former Chief Executives and Politically Appointed Officials, which had not made any announcement.

Leung Chun-ying
Leung Chun-ying visiting the Pearl River Delta “bay area.” File Photo: GovHK.

Leung’s term as Hong Kong leader ended on July 1 and he is currently a vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

In the first year after leaving the position, former chief executives shall not undertake any employment, become a director or a partner in any business or profession, or start any business or profession, according to regulations.

The rule does not apply to appointments made to charitable, academic, other non-profit-making organisations, or non-commercial regional or international organisations.

Lam said that, during his tenure, Leung was enthusiastic in pushing both initiatives and that he holds important information which may cause serious conflicts as he joins private entities: “Members of the companies can modify the articles of incorporation, turning the companies from non-profit-making to for-profit businesses,” Lam said.

Lam Cheuk-ting
Lam Cheuk-ting. File Photo: In-Media.

Lam said he will write to Chief Executive Carrie Lam and chairman of the Advisory Committee Professor Liu Pak-wai over the issue.

“Did Leung declare his actions to the relevant committee and receive approval?” he said. “Even non-profit-making positions should be declared. But according to regulations, comments from the committee are not required before he can take the positions.”

In response, Leung’s office told Citizen News on Tuesday night that the companies were non-profit-making and he was not paid for the roles: “Mr Leung’s roles and activities in the two organisations will be conducted in accordance with government regulations,” the statement read.

Leung was appointed to the two companies on August 31, and reported his new posts to the Advisory Committee on September 11, according to his office’s response.

It means that Leung only notified the government after the news was reported.

HKU role

Meanwhile, former financial secretary John Tsang is listed as adjunct professor on the website of University of Hong Kong’s Department of Politics and Public Administration. No details were shown on the page.

john tsang
John Tsang in a video on Monday. Photo: John Tsang via Facebook.

The Advisory Committee has yet to make any announcement over Tsang’s appointment.

Tsang ran for chief executive this year but lost.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.