The lawyers of former chief executive Leung Chun-ying have sent another legal letter to democrats after they launched a campaign seeking to fund a probe into his controversial HK$50 million payment from Australian firm UGL.

The public crowdfunding campaign “Wolf-Hunting Action” – a nod to one of the ex-leader’s nicknames – aims to raise at least HK$2 million in 90 days to fund an investigation. It was launched on Monday by Democratic Party members Lam Cheuk-ting, Andrew Wan, Albert Ho and Senia Ng.

Leung Chun-ying. Photo: GovHK.

Leung received what he described as a non-compete and non-poach payment of HK$50 million from UGL after it acquired UK firm DTZ. Leung was DTZ’s director in 2011, before he ran for chief executive. The payments were made in 2012 and 2013, while Leung was in office, but were only made public by Australian media in 2014. Leung has denied any wrongdoing.

His lawyers issued a statement on Monday, claiming that Lam’s allegations were “false and malicious.”

The law firm – Sit, Fung, Kwong & Shum – sent further letters to the Democratic Party members on Tuesday, saying they have made “extremely serious and unfounded allegations” against Leung by suggesting that he committed criminal offences when he was the city’s leader.

“The way you behaved at the press conference, the materials you have published and handed to the press, all indicate clearly to us that you intend to bring Mr CY Leung into hatred, contempt and ridicule,” the letter said. “There is no justification for you to do that.”

The letter cites the Defamation Ordinance and states that Leung “reserves all his rights to pursue proper legal recourse in order to protect his reputation.”

Leung on Facebook questioned what basis Lam and others had for openly making serious accusations against him, before any investigation had even concluded. He also demand that they “stop [making] the relevant accusations immediately.”

As of Wednesday, the fundraising campaign had already raised over HK$758,683, meaning that they have reached 37 per cent of their funding target.

The Democratic Party’s Senia Ng said on a Commercial Radio programme on Wednesday said that they do not harbour any malice. She said that she hoped that Leung will be able to provide more information on the case so as to ease the doubts of the public.

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.