More than one member of the pro-establishment camp donated to the Democratic Party’s crowdfunding campaign to investigate former leader Leung Chun-ying, lawmaker Lam Chuek-ting has said.
The campaign initially sought to raise HK$2 million from the public within 90 days, but the goal was achieved within a week following legal threats from Leung. The plan involves hiring lawyers and gathering evidence in Hong Kong and overseas to investigate Leung’s controversial HK$50 million payment from Australian firm UGL. The Democratic Party alleges that Leung may have committed two offences – accusations he denies.
On Monday, Liberal Party honorary chair James Tien – a rival of Leung – handed HK$1,000 in cash to Lam at his party’s anniversary event to support the funding drive. Leung did not attend the event, although he said he would come.
Lam told an RTHK programme on Tuesday that more than 5,800 people donated.
“I thank those in political circles who donated. They include lawmakers Alvin Yeung, some pro-democracy camp lawmakers – and also some pro-establishment camp friends, more than one of them,” he said. “But they wish to keep a low profile.”
Lam said many of the donations were small, including dozens who donated HK$689 – referring to one of Leung’s nicknames after he won with 2012 chief executive race with 689 votes.
The crowdfunding campaign came as Leung refused to attend the legislature’s investigative committee which is examining the controversy. Lam said it was difficult for the committee to do its work: “I don’t see the committee doing much, I am not optimistic.”
Leung received what he described as a non-compete and non-poach payment of HK$50 million from Australian firm UGL after it acquired UK firm DTZ. He was DTZ’s director in 2011, before running 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. He denies failing to declare the payments properly or pushing for the sale so he could benefit personally.
Lam said the Independent Commission Against Corruption would not reveal details of its investigation, and their scope would be limited to Hong Kong. However, since Leung’s case involved the DTZ in the UK and UGL in Australia, they wished to push foreign law enforcement agencies to follow-up with the case.
Lam also said his team had been careful in their remarks and he did not believe criminal libel had been committed, following legal letters from Leung’s lawyers. He said he did not wish to spend too much of the HK$2m in funds on any legal case, should Leung launch one.