Deus ex machina – this is getting silly

With ludicrously unsubtle timing, some sort of scandal – ‘Secret-payments-gate’ – comes out of nowhere and lands in Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung’s lap. He is now irreparably and terminally toxic. Unless, of course, he isn’t.

It was no secret that CY separated from property services company DTZ in late 2011, and it went without saying that he would have benefited financially; obviously the details were confidential and no concern of ours. The big deal now is whether he should have included the deal in his declaration of interests on becoming CE in mid-2012.

The defence says ‘no’ because he was being paid for past services; because agreement to serve in an advisory capacity in the future assumed that he would not become CE; and because he was not holding public office at the time. The prosecution says ‘yes’ because he was being paid to refrain from competing with the company in the future; because some of the payment came after he took office; and because we should have learnt by now in Hong Kong that you declare everything, right down to your grandmother’s nail clippers. To add the feel of more scumminess to the affair, we can note that while CY got a HK$50 million payout, the company left creditors unpaid.

Stan-LeungDefendsHong Kong’s pro-democrats, with so much else to rant about right now, are muttering about impeachment and insinuating bribery. The pro-establishment press, as if uncertain which way the wind is blowing on this, are giving the story factual and temperate coverage on not-too-prominent, not-too-obscure page 2.

Assuming we don’t – can’t – believe the timing is coincidental, the obvious question is: who leaked this and why? The Central People’s Government keeps dirt on everyone, and Chairman Xi Jinping is shaping up as an above-averagely ruthless tyrant, so our immediate suspicion might be that this is Beijing’s charming way of easing CY out. But why do it so messily when the guy could just resign because of leg (or family) problems? Why do it so swiftly when (so far as we can see) there is no obvious replacement to hand? Most of all, why do something that primarily benefits the pro-democrats, if only by diverting attention away from the growing disunity over Occupy Central and other tactics?

Seen this way, it seems more likely that this is the work of dastardly CIA-backed traitors and splittists attempting to overthrow one-party rule and bring Hong Kong under foreign control to prevent the motherland from its destiny as leading global power. In that case, Beijing will do all it can to support him.

An alternative explanation (to almost any Chinese puzzle you can think of) is that this is a factional thing – part of the internal struggle between Jiang Zemin’s old guard and Xi’s neo-Maoist-or-whatever usurpers. Revenge for the fatal revelation of Henry Tang’s basement!

Conspiracy theorists might like the idea that Hong Kong’s tycoons are behind it, choosing their moment with characteristically avaricious haste to oust the hated outsider. However, this would be just weeks after lining up on their knees to kiss Xi Jinping’s toes in the Great Hall of the People in a grand display of fealty, including pledges of loyalty to CY.

Personally, I think the evil wacko daughter did it.

Whatever is going on, common sense tells us that CY has to go. And, given how much space common sense gets around here these days, that probably means he’s still on course to complete his term right through to June 30, 2017.

Zuni Icosahedron announce their next incomprehensible dance thing, entitled 0 I 2. It’s not about the clashes between yellow-ribbon Occupy Central and blue-ribbon anti-Occupy forces – it just looks like it…


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19 Responses to Deus ex machina – this is getting silly

  1. Maugrim says:

    As far as in aware, it was Fairfax media in Australia that broke the story . BTW what ever happened to the investigation involving Donald Tsang? I hope such furore surrounding Leung isn’t a convenient smokescreen for others .

  2. Joe Blow says:

    It may not going to bring CY down, but it is another nail in his coffin.

    And now that everyone knows about the 50 million, he is going to find out exactly what ‘kiasu’ means and how Hong Kong people make use of it.

  3. Not In My Backyard says:

    Hmmm, the payment was from a competitor who wanted to acquire the company that CY Leung was act as a director, sounds like a hell of a conflict of interest. Further, CY Leung possibly avoided taxes on it, when it is highly unlikely in anyway that this “bribe” to go against the interest of the regular shareholders can be shown to be earned for work “outside Hong Kong”. After all “Lack of Moral Fibre” and “No Ethics Here” are the two most populated districts in Hong Kong, even our great fruit seems to think this sort of behavior is par for the course.

  4. old git says:

    Did he pay tax on the 50 mill for past services? Or was it for non-compete in the future? If the former, in the clear. If the latter, not in the clear because the future is now.

  5. Stephen says:

    The timing is delicious. If this was Xi Jing Ping’s people then Carrie has already accepted the offer to become the new CE. If it wasn’t then watch Carrie’s movements in the coming weeks and months. Frequent trips to Shenzhen and a trip to Beijing means she’s being ushered into position. For CY I think the writings on the wall.

    Mind you this is such a poisoned chalice she may want to join the family in Britain.

  6. Scotty Dotty says:

    Obviously a bribe paid in advance. But there are two Freaky things:

    1) CY and the Ozzies will both swear blind and have totally convinced themselves that this is (was) a legit consultants fee. The lies some people believe c

    2) Ozzies paid it in the first place, and in a hush hush way to suit CY. What planet are they on? No way would they get an ounce of benefit.

  7. Knownot says:

    Deus ex machina … ludicrously unsubtle timing …

    There have been two other marks of a bad writer.

    – The cheque found at the Mongkok counter-demonstration last Friday night. A bearer cheque for $7,000, perhaps from a China-linked company, accidentally dropped. If you read that in a detective novel, meant to be either a clue or a red herring, you would scorn the writer for such a hackneyed trick.

    At the same counter-demonstration, the woman wearing large sunglasses (at night) and a surgical mask giving instructions in Mandarin through a megaphone. Such an absurd villain! A good writer would be ashamed of her.

  8. PD says:

    I’ve always thought that Donald’s misdemeanours were relatively minor in the greater scheme of things, and here comes fantastic news that puts to shame his boat trips across the polluted Pearl River and crummy flat with nasty neighbours.

    If the leak came from Peking, then the timing means that their desire is of the overwhelming, can’t-wait-another-minute sort AND a woman CE is allowed AND Stephen’s heartthrob has said something wrong AND Carrie is in.

    What gets interesting is when the next CE proves a total failure as well. One or two might just be carelessness, but to lose a deathly four will surely raise a few international eyebrows.

  9. I think whoever dropped CY in this – whether or not the payment to him is legitimate – clearly wanted us to draw parallels with the Rafael Hui case. Ironic, by the way, that Raffy will probably be enjoying free accommodation again soon – though I doubt that he had to do his own slopping out at Leighton Hill!

  10. Garnaut, one of the authors of the CY Leung story, has given a VOA interview with a smidgeon of background pointing to where the leak might have come from. See

  11. Scotty Dotty says:

    @ Joe Studwell

    How does that link point to where the leak came from? Only seems to say it was an anonymous email. It’s silent whether it’s Beijing or Hong Kong.

  12. MonkeyFish says:

    Definitely a factional play from anti-Jiang faction in Beijing …. corruption-related offences (or the very strong suggestion of same) gives reasons for CY’s firing that are palatable to a mainland public that is largely supportive of recent anti-corruption efforts o’er that yonder line there. Probably one of the less damaging documents, taken straight out of a a rather thick Ministry of State Security dossier on CY.

    If I was a tycoon who had thrown my lot in with the CCP old schoolers I would be cacking my pants. Nevertheless, unexpectedly changing loyalties and grovelling in obeisance to the new boss, are of course fine local traditions, even art forms, cultivated and perfected over the course of our city’s short but colorful history.

  13. Real Tax Payer (Retired) says:

    Having dropped in to watch the Rafael Hui trial for a couple of days over the past week while Thomas Kwok was testifying (to his own defense lawyer -t he prosecution has not yet begun to counter- examine) , I can only comment that that CY’s errors of judgment – if any – re DTZ were on a scale of 1 to a zillion re how SHK handled the RH alleged graft case.

  14. Not a former Real Tax Payer says:

    To do maximum damage, these leaks should come in dribs and drabs of escalating gravity (no point in swamping the ICAC just now).

    The present offence, at first blush, already contains elements of tax evasion, making false declarations and bribery. God knows what has been held in reserve.

    At least we now know the identity of the evil, foreign-influenced, horned devil lurking in our midst.

    Social order is already breaking down in the countryside, with more flouting of the law and acts of violence.

    Peking will proceed cautiously, but surely even the waxworks will realise sooner rather than later that HK is ungovernable?

  15. Joe Blow says:

    If Xi Jinping puts the jackboot down in Hong Kong he can forget about Taiwan re-unification for the next 100 years. And he will never set foot in another Western capital again, including Washington.

    On the other hand: he has to do something. Or he will look weak.

    Yep: CY The Liar is the sacrificial lamb.

    Will be interesting to see which of CY’s ‘loyal’ servants will jump ship first (and second).

  16. C.Law says:

    “Whatever is going on, common sense tells us that CY has to go. And, given how much space common sense gets around here these days, that probably means he’s still on course to complete his term right through to June 30, 2017”
    Probably means he’s going to get the second term, too!

    Joe Blow:
    I think he can already forget about HK having any kind of positive effect on Taiwan from the Beijing point of view. That argument was lost so long ago, I’m surprised that people keep bringing it up.

  17. honky says:

    Yes but what really counts is what does Vagina rIp thinks of all of this…

  18. Interesting to see in the VOA interview that Leung threatened legal action to stop Fairfax reporting the truth. Perhaps he’s been taking lessons in leadership from Singapore, whose PM recently had a chat with him in Hong Kong.

  19. PHT says:

    To Private Beach: It seems that CYL’s daughter is also threatening legal action against publications that reported her comments to the people of HK last week.

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