Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang jailed again for misconduct

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Donald TsangImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Donald Tsang's downfall shocked Hong Kong

The former leader of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang, has lost his appeal against a misconduct conviction and will be sent back to prison.

Tsang, who led the city from 2005 to 2012, was on bail pending the appeal.

The judge reduced his sentence for misconduct in public office from 20 months to 12 months.

Tsang is the most senior Hong Kong official to stand trial for corruption in a city known for its clean reputation.

The case relates to his failure to disclose plans to lease a luxury flat in China.

"It defies belief that someone with the applicant's long experience and background in government service could have overlooked the need to make a declaration of interest in these circumstances," the court judgement said on Friday.

It also said Tsang's misconduct was "particularly serious, given his pre-eminent position in the community and the harm his actions will have engendered among the people of Hong Kong in their confidence in the way the government does its business".

Tsang's lawyer said he intended to file an appeal.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Tsang was Hong Kong's second leader since the city's 1997 handover from British to Chinese rule

Luxury flats and designers

The 2017 conviction of the territory's former chief executive related to events which took place near the end of his term, between 2010 and 2012.

Prosecutors accused Tsang of inappropriate and undeclared conflicts of interest, including renting a luxury flat in mainland China from the shareholder of a broadcast company whose licence applications he approved. They also alleged the flat was redecorated free of charge and that he later nominated the interior designer for an honour.

The 2017 verdict found him guilty of misconduct over his failure to disclose the lease of the flat, but dismissed the charge related to the designer and did not reach a verdict on whether he accepted a bribe in the form of the refurbishment.

A career civil servant, Tsang rose through the ranks to become Hong Kong's second chief executive, following Tung Chee-hwa.

His deputy, former Chief Secretary Rafael Hui, was jailed for accepting bribes from a property tycoon in 2014.