HONG KONG—The Independent Commission Against Corruption agreed to investigate Hong Kong’s next chief executive Leung Chun-ying, who takes his post July 1, over illegal building additions that were discovered at Leung’s luxury residence last week.
During the election period, Leung stated that he did not have any unauthorized construction in his home. His statement was made in response to the discovery of a 2,250-square-foot basement and other unauthorized structures at the home of his opponent, Henry Tang Ying-yen. It is widely believed that Tang lost many votes to Leung due to the scandal, resulting in Leung’s victory.
On June 24, a Hong Kong political party, Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL), and the political coalition People Power jointly filed a complaint to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to call for an investigation into Leung’s residence. On June 27, Hong Kong paper Sing Tao Daily reported that the ICAC has agreed to initiate an investigation into Leung on suspicion of making false statements during the election period.
Chairman of People Power Christopher Lau Gar Hung said, “If investigations confirm that Leung had in fact made false statements during the election period, then he has violated election rules and he is not fit to be the chief executive. We will then request the court to declare the election results invalid.”
After Hong Kong paper Ming Pao first broke the news last week that there were illegal structures at Leung’s home, the Buildings Department conducted an inspection and found a total of six illegal structures on his property.
As of June 27, four of the illegal structures have already been cleared, leaving the 240-square-foot basement and another structure still intact. The other unauthorized construction included a glass canopy, a vineyard trellis, a 40-square-foot storage room, and a parking space cover.
Leung has publicly apologized for his “negligence” and claimed that the structures were already built when he purchased the property in 2000, according to the South China Morning Post. Many find his explanations hard to believe, however, since he is a professional property surveyor.
This past weekend, Hong Kong media parked several crane trucks near Leung’s residence so that reporters could film what was going on inside. He owns two houses located on top of a hill.
On June 24, several members of the Democratic Party submitted a petition to the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors requesting the institute to investigate whether Leung had violated their rules of professional conduct.
Albert Ho Chun-yan, who is chairman of the Democratic Party, and also ran as a candidate for chief executive during the election, expressed that he plans to submit an election petition to challenge Leung’s victory in the election. Ho, who is also a solicitor, wrote a formal letter requesting Leung to answer 12 crucial questions regarding his residence.
Alan Leong Kah-Kit, leader of the Civic Party, wrote a letter to the chairman of the House Committee at the Legislative Council of Hong Kong to request a question-and-answer session on Leung’s property to take place after Leung takes office.
Members of the political party League of Social Democrats gathered outside of Leung’s residence on June 26 to call for his immediate resignation after he takes office on July 1. Chairman of the party Leung Kwok-hung expressed that the scandal is no longer just about the unauthorized construction, but a question of Leung Chun-ying’s integrity, saying “He is a professional surveyor. His excuse that he was unaware of illegal structures on his property is absolutely ridiculous.”
With research by Annie Wu.
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