The following is the transcript of the meet-the-media session given by the Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, at the Central Government Offices this (Thursday) evening after returning from Israel:-
Reporter: Mr Tung, the Secretary for Justice, Ms Elsie Leung, has said she decided it would not be in the public interest to prosecute Sally Aw Sian because of the possible consequences which would arise from the collapse of the Sing Tao Group. Do you think the principle of equality before the law has been damaged by her taking political implications into account in making a judicial decision?
Mr Tung : Obviously, you have not studied the whole explanation she gave. The principal explanation she gave was that there was not enough evidence to prosecute Ms Sally Aw Sian. But putting that aside, I think you know, there has been a long explanation in her statement to the Legislature this afternoon and I would hope that those people who doubted her before would now understand better the reason why she did what she did. As far as I am concerned, the rule of law is the most important thing we have, and nobody is above the law and so far as the Secretary for Justice, Ms Elsie Leung, is concerned, I know she is very committed to upholding the rule of law.
Reporter: Would you please talk about how your trip to Israel is going to shape your vision of Hong Kong as a hub for technology?
Mr Tung: We already have our own vision for Hong Kong. The purpose of my trip was really to see why and how Israel over such a short time has become so successful. And the fact is that before we went, obviously, we did some research and we knew that for instance, the Israeli defence industry must have assisted the rapid development in the area of technology. The fact that few hundred thousand Russian immigrants, many of them are the best in the former Soviet Union, must have contributed to the success of Israel. We knew all that beforehand. We were there to understand what the government did to facilitate this rapid development. And I thought it was a very useful trip. We have already had a vision. The purpose of the trip was that to make sure our vision was right and the way to implement it. There might be some good ideas coming out of the visit and in fact, the visit has been very helpful.
End/Thursday, February 4, 1999