Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo meeting (with video)
Reporter: Mrs Lam, in regards to Teresa Cheng's case, do you think this shows a problem with our, like, vetting mechanism with Principal Officials? And also, what do you make of calls for her to resign? Is this an integrity and maybe capability problem? And also, regards to the co-location plan's legality, should we look at the Basic Law in the perspective of the common law or the Mainland constitution?
Chief Executive: Well, as far as the co-location issue, I have already explained at length about the very solid legal basis to support the implementation of co-location in the West Kowloon Station in order to enable us to effectively commission this very important rail line in the third quarter of this year. And by the way, I just want to stress that when people challenge me for not reflecting fully the views of the Hong Kong people on this Hong Kong section of the Express Rail Link, I want to say that it's not just on the legality of this co-location, which we have worked very hard to provide. It is also about the public's aspirations that they want this railway to be commissioned as soon as possible, they want the fares to be more reasonable, and all these are issues that I have been reflecting continuously to the Central Authorities in my six months as the Chief Executive for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. As far as the further deeper constitutional issues, I think that those could only be addressed in a sit-down forum where we have a lot of time.
About the alleged unauthorised building works in the property of my new Secretary for Justice, Teresa Cheng, I have said that she reported this incident to me on the first occasion, that is in the afternoon on the fifth of January once she had been alerted to by the Buildings Department’s (BD) actions and also upon media enquiry, and she has taken every step to explain for this situation and promised to rectify once the situation has been ascertained. And this morning I think the BD team will go into the property to look at the structures and to ascertain exactly which are the unauthorised building works. Based on the information that I have now, I do not feel this is an integrity issue, and that's why it will not compromise Teresa's position as the Secretary for Justice. I will just want to say this to the members of the public: It is now very difficult to really attract talented people to come into the administration because of the political situation, and that's why people describe this situation as being a very hot kitchen. For a very successful lawyer with international reputation like Teresa to make up her mind to join my team is a very difficult and tough decision which could only be made with one purpose in mind, and that is to serve the people of Hong Kong and to serve the country. So I hope that people will give her some allowance, give her some time and room, to sort this out, and I'm sure that she will be able to handle her future duties as the Secretary for Justice with my full confidence. Thank you very much.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Issued at HKT 12:19
Issued at HKT 12:19
Audio / Video
CE meets the media