The Chinese Communist Party’s greatest gift to its Hong Kong opponents this year keeps on giving. That’s new Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng, of course. In a just-after-midnight-on-Sunday press release, Cheng announces that the illegal structures at her Tuen Mun house are being fixed, and her two properties in Shatin and one in South Hong Kong Island have been checked.
The details sound suitably mundane – the big excitement is an insufficiently fireproof (possibly) kitchen door. But, like the clumsily underhanded timing of the press release, this just intensifies suspicions that she has something to hide, and officials who instinctively insult the public’s intelligence are helping her do it.
The irony is that even her more egregious illegal structures are pretty standard in much of Hong Kong. Longstanding dimwitted government land-revenue policy that severely constricts residential area has induced or even impelled people to extend or create living space illicitly. (The system makes the Window Tax sound sensible.) Authorities’ enforcement is selective, lax, lazy, overwhelmed or non-existent.
Cheng’s real sin has been trying to worm her way out of it through ‘a denial that is simply not credible’. Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s support for her further undermines an administration with enough credibility problems. We have to live with this. Both women were picked and appointed by Beijing’s local Liaison Office to implement Mainlandization of Hong Kong, notably the degrading of the rule of law here. The Communist Party chose them not for their principles, but for their lack of principles.
At a more basic level, a major affront is Cheng’s property dealings and holdings. The Shatin investments look like average middle-class-housewife dabbling. But the price she paid for the Tuen Mun place – double the previous price of a year before – raises eyebrows (as does the hitherto-secret husband-next-door’s wealth). And now it seems she bought a 2,000 square foot flat in Repulse Bay for HK$62 million in September last year.
This is a time when mass-market apartments carry price-tags equivalent to well over 15 years’ median household income, and many families are living in subdivided squalor. It is an almost perfectly scripted episode in which the oblivious elite contemptuously kicks the populace in the face.
Much of Ms Cheng’s “defence” seem to centre around the fact that it is all being rectified.. and presumably then everything will be OK… Isn’t this a bit like being pulled over for speeding, and explaining to the traffic cop “I’m not speeding now”..??
Get off it, Buster.
You use the word egregious. This is usually the sign of liberal BS.
Of course, however, you are not a liberal.
Your views and agenda and rabble rousing inventive are perfect mirrors of all the Western intelligence agencies, neo-con think tanks, US military strategists, reactionary pundits and even President Trump.
How egregious of you!
One of the bunch really ought to be paying you a pension by now. The oblivious elite.
Or saying “I didn’t know I was speeding. I was too busy to look at the speedometer”?
I reckon it’s more akin to a former drugs Tsar on being done for possession saying: “Well, In my defence, the cannabis was already illegal when I bought it, but now that
I’ve been caught red handedits illegality has been pointed out to me, I am getting rid of it as fast as I can, and I’m also checking to see if the bags of ecstasy, mushrooms and cocaine are illegal as well; and will get rid of any illegal substances in those bags as quickly as possible. But this in no way means I will resign as Police commissioner as my integrity is intact.”
It encompasses both the breathtaking contempt for the law you supposedly specialised in, and the public’s intellectual capabilities.
Amazing arrogance and disregard, sense of entitlemnt
But also amazing naivette to think it would not be the subject of investigation and reporting while we still have something of a free press
Plus as somebody (Jason Wordie) said in yesterday’s SCMP, where was the vetting, if only by one question: ” Is there anything in your background or current activities that might cause embarassment to the government?”
Once Tung Chee-wah decided not to prosecute his old friend Sally Aw, it was established that there are 2 kinds of law in HK: one for the political elite and the tycoon friends in whose pockets they reside, and another one for the plebs (you and me).
It seems that a large number of HK solicitors act in a purchase and register documents with the Land Registry certifying that all is in order when this type of clause is included
“the purchaser acknowledges that the property contains illegal structures, alterations and unauthorised additions and understands that the relevant conditions did not apply for any approval nor obtain any approval from government or other competent authorities”.
In other words, they are not delivering good title to their purchaser clients.
So all this will blow over by CNY holidays and afterwards Mizz Cheng will be able to crack on with her new position as if nothing happened, thick shoe-leather skinned face intact.
According to the SCMP this morning you could allege tax evasion as well to her list of wrong doing as they suggest she only paid Stamp Duty as a “first time buyer” saving her some $4.5 million!