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Thursday, June 23, 2016, 15:23

ICAC charges opposition lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung

By Shadow Li

ICAC charges opposition lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung
Opposition lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung was arrested and charged by the city’s anti-graft watchdog for allegedly having concealed that he had accepted a donation of HK$250,000 from media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, founder of Next Media, a listed media company.

Leung, 60, also known as "Long Hair", faces one count of misconduct in public office and will appear at the Eastern Magistracy today (Friday). The prosecution is set to transfer the case to the District Court.

According to Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the alleged crime was committed between May 2012 and June 2016. Leung is accused of intentionally concealing the donation from the Legislative Council (LegCo).

The donation was said to have been made through a third party – Mark Herman Simon on May 22, 2012. Simon was Lai’s right hand man.

Misconduct in public office can incur a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. According to the Basic Law Article 79, a lawmaker can be stripped of his title if he is convicted and sentenced to at least one month in jail, provided two-thirds of LegCo members approve this.

Earlier in 2012, Leung narrowly escaped being stripped of his seat when he was sentenced to two months in jail for encouraging protesters to storm into a public forum. The motion to impeach Leung failed to pass a threshold of two-thirds of the members of the legislature.

Leung’s indictment is expected to cloud his chance for running for a LegCo seat again in September. According to the Legislative Council Ordinance, anyone being sentenced to more than three months in prison will lose his candidacy. The same will happen if any candidate is serving time in jail on the day of nomination or election.

Currently, Leung is the first and only opposition lawmaker being charged for concealing donations from Lai.

Earlier in 2014, it was revealed that Lai allegedly donated up to HK$40 million to the city’s opposition camp members, including lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan from the Labour Party, and James To Kun-sun from the Democratic Party, between 2012 and 2014.

During the same period, Leung was reported to have taken two other donations worth HK$500,000 each from Lai as well, without informing the legislature. This accusation was dismissed as unfounded in a report issued by LegCo’s Committee on Members' Interests in December 2015 after an investigation was conducted.

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