Twice lucky – Stephen Chan avoided bribery charges in his second trial on the same issue. Here’s what’s making news in today’s Cantonese newspapers in Hong Kong.
Stephen Chan once again acquitted of corruption charges
Yesterday, former TVB General Manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan and his former assistant, Edthancy Tseng, were acquitted of corruption charges for a second time. The first acquittal occurred in September 2011, when Acting Chief District Judge Poon Siu-tung ruled that Chan had appeared on a TVB-broadcasted talk show at Olympian City as an artist and not as a TVB representative, so was justified in receiving a payment from Olympian City. This ruling suggested that no conflict of interest existed. In November 2012, the Court of Appeal returned the case to the lower court, noting that Poon had erred in his application of the law. Yesterday, Poon again ruled in Chan’s favor, saying that Chan was transparent in his intention to appear on the talk show and that TVB would have had no reason to deny Chan payment because Chan’s appearance on the talk show would have helped TVB’s business and not hurt it. The Department of Justice said it would take the case back to the Court of Appeal in a “case stated” procedure.
Zhang Dejiang: Beijing’s policy towards Hong Kong has not changed
Yesterday, Communist Party Standing Committee Member Zhang Deijing, who is expected to take over leadership of the National People’s Congress, commented on Beijing’s policy towards Hong Kong during a closed-door meeting with Hong Kong representatives to the National People’s Congress. After the meeting, Ma Fung-kwok, spokesperson for the Hong Kong delegation, said that Zhang indicated that Beijing’s policy direction towards Hong Kong had not changed. Additionally, Hong Kong’s economic accomplishments since the handover and its role in assisting mainland companies in expanding internationally had resulted in a win-win situation for both Hong Kong and the mainland. He said Hong Kong could be effective at developing its particular qualities and in helping the yuan to internationalize. Zhang also claimed that no mainland province could replace the contribution that Hong Kong had made to the mainland.
Rezoning of six controversial sites may be delayed
The government of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has moved to abolish the land application list, a move that it says will increase land supply. However, six of the 22 plots that the government wants to rezone for housing and open for bidding are controversial. According to current regulations, any person can apply for a delay in rezoning to the Town Planning Board. Several groups have already indicated that they plan to apply for delays, meaning that the six sites will not be opened for bidding next year in line with the government’s plans. Additionally, Town Planning Board Vice Chairman Wong Yuen-fai has emphasized that applications to change the zoning of the properties would not necessarily be successful. Separately, the Kowloon City District Council has announced that it will support Baptist University’s move to block the government’s plan to rezone a site adjacent to the university for private housing. The university wishes to build a private Chinese medicine hospital on the site instead.