Hong Kong Leader Faces Impeachment on Bribe Allegations

March 1, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang
File photo of Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang at the APEC CEO Summit, in Honolulu, Hawaii on Nov. 11, 2011. (Richard A. Brooks/AFP/Getty Images)

Hong Kong’s head of government, Chief Executive Donald Tsang, is facing possible impeachment over corruption allegations and will stand before a special hearing on Thursday, just one month before elections.

Tsang has been accused of receiving kickbacks from powerful tycoons in the form of luxury holidays and accommodation arrangements.

Tsang has admitted to taking trips on luxury yachts and private aircraft. He will have to explain his actions to a special committee hearing on Thursday, but has insisted he has not broken any laws.

Wealthy businessmen in Hong Kong comprise a majority of the 1,200-member Beijing approved Parliament, known as the Legislative Council (LegCo).

The election of the chief executive and other lawmakers is not open to a public vote, which has been a point of contention for pro-democracy groups since the 1997 handover to China.

Tsang’s office said although he had repeatedly given accounts of the circumstances in public, he would attend a one-hour session in LegCo in order to be “transparent and accountable to the community,” reports Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK.

Earlier this week Tsang had set up an independent anti-corruption committee to specifically investigate high-level officials. The five-member committee will be chaired by former Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang.

Colluding with selected tycoons has raised questions of just how transparent the chief executive’s governance really is. It has also intensified calls for him to step down immediately.

Over 200 people marched last Sunday urging a thorough investigation into Tsang’s actions. League of Social Democrats lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung has warned that if Tsang does not attend Thursday’s hearing, he would push for an impeachment.

The Standard reports that Leung, who marched to Government House with a dozen of his fellow party members, said it was not enough for the committee appointed by Tsang to review rules on the conduct of top officials.

There had to be an investigation of Tsang, he said.

The election for chief executive is scheduled for March 25.