The Court of Appeal has rejected former chief executive Donald Tsang’s application to go to the highest court to overturn his misconduct in public office conviction. But Tsang can still directly seek approval from the Court of Final Appeal.

In July, Tsang lost an appeal against his conviction and returned to prison to serve the rest of a 12-month sentence.

On Friday, Court of Appeal justices Wally Yeung, Andrew Macrae and Derek Pang refused to certify that a point of law of great and general importance was involved in the high-profile case – a necessary element for a case to go to the highest court.

Donald Tsang (second from right). File Photo: Citizen News.

“In our judgment, they simply do not arise in this case, for reasons explained at some length in the judgment of the Court at the appeal. Nor do we regard them as points of law of great and general importance,” they wrote.

Tsang will have to pay the prosecution’s legal costs incurred by the application.

Tsang, 73, was the first leader of the city to be convicted in a criminal trial.

Last year, Tsang was found guilty of misconduct in public office for failing to disclose his plans to lease a Shenzhen luxury flat from a major investor in a broadcaster – a firm which was later granted a government broadcast licence on his watch.


In an earlier trial at the Court of First Instance, Tsang was unanimously acquitted of another misconduct charge over an allegation that he failed to declare that an architect he proposed for a government award was employed as an interior designer on the apartment.

The jury could not reach a consensus on a third charge of accepting an advantage over his penthouse renovation works at the first trial. A retrial was held over the charge, but another jury also failed to reach a verdict last November. The prosecution said that it would not seek another retrial unless the court directed it to do so.

Kris Cheng

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.