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Tsang faces impeachment motion, ICAC probe

Emily Tsang, Tanna Chong and Simpson Cheung 
7:30pm, Feb 28, 2012

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is set to become the first Hong Kong chief executive to face an impeachment motion and a corruption investigation, following allegations of collusion and corruption.

Lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said on Tuesday he was confident of securing the 15 Legislative Council votes – or one-quarter of the body’s members – needed to put an unprecedented motion for impeachment to Legco, a move many see as a serious humiliation for the city’s leader.

It was not certain what the next step would be after a motion was submitted because this would be the first case of its kind.

At the same time, the South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583announcementsnews) has learned that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has started investigating whether Tsang’s favours from his tycoon friends – trips on a private luxury jet and boat and a penthouse lease – could have breached the anti-corruption law.

“Although the ICAC has started a probe, the legislature should still reflect popular opinion and see if Tsang has breached any rules,” Tse said. “I am confident I can secure the support of not fewer than another 14 lawmakers.”

He claimed there was sufficient prima facie evidence for the conflict-of-interest allegations.

Legislator Wong Yuk-man, whose People’s Power group has two votes, said the party would back whoever initiates the motion. Wong also urged other pan-democrats to support the move.

Legco will not meet again until late March so the motion will be tabled in two weeks’ time – at the earliest.

Tsang has said that the recent events have taught him a “painful lesson”, but the effort to allay public anger has been to no avail, with another poll showing a further decline in his approval rating.

According to a University of Hong Kong poll, Tsang’s popularity rating dropped to 46.6 per cent in a survey carried out between February 20 and February 22, when the tycoons’ favours were first reported. The result was 1.7 percentage points below the figure two weeks earlier and the lowest level since December.

But, analysts said the effect of Tsang’s conflict-of-interest issues might not have fully surfaced by the time the survey was done

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