The office of former chief executive Carrie Lam, who oversaw one of the most turbulent periods in Hong Kong’s history, has spent around HK$13.5 million since she ended her term last June.

Lam’s office at Pacific Place near the government headquarters in Admiralty incurred non-recurrent spending of around HK$6.55 million in the year 2022-23, according to a document submitted to the legislature. The amount was mainly for renovation work including buying furniture and equipment, the government said.

Carrie Lam
Former chief executive Carrie Lam. File photo: GovHK.

The figure was revealed in the Administration Wing’s reply to questions raised by lawmaker Dominic Lee ahead of a series of special Finance Committee meetings next week, when the legislature is set to review the government’s spending estimates for 2022-23.

The office of the former leader who completed her five-year term at the end of June last year also saw recurrent expenditure of about HK$6.95 million. This covered HK$2.04 million spent on staff remuneration and staff-related expenses, while rent and related cost and other daily operating expenses totalled HK$4.43 million and HK$480,000, respectively.

The latest government figures showed the monthly rent of Lam’s 267-square-metre office stood at around HK$369,000. It was lower than the amount revealed by Chief Secretary Eric Chan late October, when he said the government spent around HK$377,000 a month renting Lam’s office, which was “comparable with the market level.”

The offices of the other three former chief executives – Tung Chee-hwa, Donald Tsang and Leung Chun-ying- were sited at 28 Kennedy Road in Central, which was already fully occupied when Lam left office.

At present, each ex-Hong Kong leader has a senior personal assistant, an assistant clerical officer and a personal chauffeur. Each office also has one staff member to oversee daily clerical and reception duties.

national day 2022 reception carrie Lam
Carrie Lam attends a reception celebrating China’s National Day on October 1, 2022. Photo: HKFP.

Aside from office accommodation, Lam and other ex-chief executives receive administrative support from the government when they perform “promotional and protocol-related functions” for the city after leaving the top job. Those events included receiving visiting dignitaries and delegations, giving media interviews and taking part in speaking engagements.

The government said Lam attended 183 local and overseas functions in person or via video in her capacity of former leader between July 1, 2022 and January 31 this year.

Last November, Lam said in her first media interview since leaving office that her plan to amend the extradition bill, which triggered the city’s worst political turmoil in years, “was correct.” The mass protests that often descended into violent clashes between police and protesters may have been “unavoidable,” the ex-leader said citing the lack of a mechanism at the time for safeguarding national security.

She added she would like to further promote One Country, Two Systems to Hongkongers, mainland residents and the people of Taiwan in her capacity as former leader, as well as give lectures on the topic at universities on the mainland.

Support HKFP  |  Code of Ethics  |  Error/typo?  |  Contact Us  |  Newsletter  | Transparency & Annual Report | Apps

Help safeguard press freedom & keep HKFP free for all readers by supporting our team

contribute to hkfp
2023 fund hkfp
YouTube video

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit.

contact hkfp
kelly ho headshot hkfp

Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.