Hong Kong’s Anti-Graft Agency Took Gift From China, Now TV Says

Hong Kong’s anti-corruption agency accepted a gift worth more than HK$200,000 ($25,765) from mainland Chinese officials in 2007, Now TV reported today, citing the body’s former head.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption received the decorative screen during the opening ceremony of the agency’s new office building, Timothy Tong, the agency’s former commissioner, said at a hearing of the city’s legislative council today, according to the pay TV operator. The gift was given by representatives from China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Now TV reported Tong as saying.

The revelation comes after the ICAC said this month it will investigate Tong amid allegations of corrupt practices and misconduct after he spent more than $100,000 on gifts and travel during his term as leader of the body from 2007 to 2012. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said the government will review spending at the ICAC under Tong, who was appointed to China’s top political advisory body this year.

Two phone calls the ICAC press office outside business hours weren’t answered.

The ICAC’s entertainment expenses during Tong’s term had no connection with his appointment to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Tong said, according to a separate report by Radio Television Hong Kong today. Tong added that the ICAC’s acceptance of the gift didn’t affect its operations, RTHK reported.

Tong’s comments come after the ICAC pursued a number of high-profile investigations under his leadership, including arresting former Chief Secretary Rafael Hui in March 2012. Hui and the co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., Thomas and Raymond Kwok, have pleaded not guilty to corruption charges in that case.

The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, which is a special administrative region of China, requested its staff to strictly follow the central government’s rules and not to take gifts including food and expensive items, the office said in a statement yesterday.