HK prosecutors decide against third trial for former leader Donald Tsang over bribery charge

07-Nov-2017 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The criminal prosecution of former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang Yam-kuen over corruption allegations has come to an end, as prosecutors have decided not to press for a third trial, a source told the Post.

The ex-top official had found himself in legal limbo on Friday when eight jurors were unable to come to a majority decision on whether to find him guilty of a bribery charge.

Tsang, 73, who led the city between 2005 and 2012, denied one count of accepting an advantage as the chief executive during the last two years of his tenure.

The jury’s indecision prompted speculation that there might be a third trial. Tsang faced a similar situation earlier this year, when the jury in a previous trial also failed to reach a verdict on the same charge, necessitating the present second trial, which ended on Friday.

A source confirmed on Monday that there would, indeed, be no third trial. The reasons for the decision were not specified.

Both Tsang’s lawyers and the prosecutors are slated to return to the High Court on Monday afternoon to discuss the way forward. It is possible the prosecutors will take this opportunity to address the court about the decision not to press ahead.

Tsang was accused of accepting free, custom refurbishment worth HK$3.8 million (US$487,000) of a three-storey penthouse in Shenzhen, where he planned to retire.

In return, prosecutors said, he became “favourably disposed” to a local radio station, Wave Media, the majority shareholder of which was Bill Wong Cho-bau, who owned the penthouse and paid for the renovation.

In the earlier trial in February, Tsang was convicted of one count of misconduct in public office for failing to disclose the deal.

He was jailed for 20 months, but has been granted bail pending an appeal.

Lawyers whom the Post spoke to said the prosecutors were always entitled to press for another trial. But seeking a second retrial would require “extreme caution”, as only a small number of cases met the criteria for that, the Post was told.


Category: Hong Kong

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