Democratic Party lawmakers Lam Cheuk-ting and Andrew Wan travelled to London on Tuesday as part of their ongoing investigation into former chief executive Leung Chun-ying’s controversial payout from Australian firm UGL.
Lam and Wan said they have plans to meet with Member of Parliament Catherine West, the National Crime Agency, anti-corruption NGO Transparency International and the British press. They will also meet with the UK lawyers they previously hired to conduct investigations.
“The UGL case involves not only Hong Kong, but also the United Kingdom and Australia and their respective law enforcement agencies,” Lam said, urging authorities to conduct a thorough investigation.
The UGL controversy surrounds Leung’s receipt of a non-compete and non-poach payment of HK$50 million from the Australian firm UGL after it acquired UK firm DTZ. Leung was DTZ’s director before he ran for chief executive, and he received payments in 2012 and 2013 during his tenure as Hong Kong’s leader.
The Democratic Party launched the crowdfunded “Wolf-Hunting Action” campaign in April to investigate Leung for alleged misconduct and conflict of interest. Leung has denied any wrongdoing.
Lam and Wan, along with Kwok Ka-ki from the Civic Party, also started a petition on Tuesday to support those who are being sued by Leung or who face the prospect of him launching a suit against them.
On August 24, Leung sued university professor Chung Kim-wah and news outlet Stand News for defamation. Legal scholar Eric Cheung also revealed last week that he received legal letters from Leung accusing him of libel.
The lawmakers’ UK trip was not occasioned by Leung’s recent actions, but their investigation would be a form of indirect support for those standing up to the former top official, Lam said.
“If Leung wins in court because Chung Kim-wah has no resources for a lawsuit, then I’m worried that it will lead to a domino effect. Others commenting on Leung… will face extreme psychological and financial stress, and [the lawsuits] will cause serious concerns for the media,” Lam said.
“This is very harmful to the freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Hong Kong,” he added.
The lawmakers’ online petition also urged Leung to disclose all records relevant to the UGL controversy and to explain the situation before the Legislative Council.