Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that the resignation of the head of Communications Authority over his failure to declare interests was “not the same” as Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng’s case.

On Monday, the chair of the Communications Authority Huen Wong tendered his resignation for failing to declare that he owned shares in telecom firm China Mobile.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Photo: GovHK.

He discovered the shares on Friday after selling a bundle of stocks which he purchased two years prior to his appointment, and tendered his resignation on the same day.

Cheng, who took office last month, was also embroiled in controversy over illegal structures found at properties belonging to her and her husband at Villa De Mer in Tuen Mun.

Hundreds attended a protest on Sunday demanding she step down from office.

Teresa Cheng. Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

Speaking before the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Lam commented on Wong’s resignation, saying: “I accepted his explanation and resignation – and I hope society will accept this move by him.”

Reporters asked her how the case compared to that of Cheng.

“[It] is not the same as the case of the justice secretary – I think there is no need for everyone to make unnecessary associations,” she said, adding that the issue involving Teresa Cheng was dealt with in various ways. Cheng is now focusing on her duties, Lam said.

She said those taking up committee positions related to broadcasting and communications should be reminded to review their assets carefully owing to the sensitivity of policies in the area.

When Wong was asked to compare his resignation with other scandal-hit officials who have refused to resign, he said: “The way to handle this is my own personal choice – it is unrelated to how other people handle things, and I cannot comment on other people’s views.”

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.