HONG KONG: A Hong Kong court on Wednesday threw out former Chief Executive Donald Tsang’s conviction for misconduct relating to a property deal while in office.
Tsang was released in January after serving a 12-month jail term for failing to disclose plans to rent a luxury apartment from a businessman granted a government broadcasting license.
A panel of five judges on the Court of Final Appeal agreed the judge at Tsang’s trial had not given jurors sufficient directions on assessing whether he had deliberately concealed information before finding him guilty in 2017. The judges also ordered that no retrial be held.
Tsang, 74, served as Hong Kong’s chief executive from 2005 to 2012, is the highest-ranking former or current official sent to prison for wrongdoing in the Asian financial hub.
His conviction marked a dramatic downfall for the longtime civil servant known for his practice of wearing bow ties, whose career spanned both British colonial rule and Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997.
Tsang’s successor C.Y. Leung also became embroiled in a corruption scandal for failing to report a 50-million Hong Kong dollar ($6.4 million) payout from an Australian engineering firm but was not prosecuted.
Current Chief Executive Carrie Lam has faced calls for her resignation and attempting to push through contentious extradition legislation that sparked massive street protests. Under the handover terms, Hong Kong was guaranteed rights to elections, assembly, free speech and other civil liberties unknown in mainland China for 50 years.
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