'Never Have I Seen a Man Fallen From Such a Height'

Donald Tsang sentenced in misconduct case involving luxury apartment
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 22, 2017 6:58 AM CST
'Never Have I Seen a Man Fallen From Such a Height'
In this photo from Friday, Donald Tsang, former leader of Hong Kong, walks out of the High Court after being granted bail following his conviction.   (Kin Cheung)

A former leader of Hong Kong was sentenced Wednesday to 20 months in prison for misconduct after failing to disclose plans to rent a luxury apartment for his retirement from a businessman applying for a broadcasting license, the AP reports. It was a stunning downfall for Donald Tsang, 72, who served as Hong Kong's leader, or chief executive, from 2005 to 2012. He becomes the highest-ranking official sent to prison for wrongdoing in the Asian financial hub, which prides itself on a reputation for clean governance. "Never in my judicial career have I seen a man fallen from such a height," Justice Andrew Chan said as he handed down the sentence in Hong Kong's High Court. Tsang showed little emotion as the sentence was read out in a packed courtroom; his wife said he plans to appeal.

Jurors ruled 8-1 he committed misconduct when he failed to disclose that the penthouse in neighboring Shenzhen in mainland China was owned by a businessman whose company was applying for and ultimately granted a digital radio license. Willy Lam with the Chinese University of Hong Kong tells Time the case is "particularly relevant today" as the reach of Chinese businesses claws deeper into the semiautonomous territory. "Despite the anti-corruption campaign in China after Xi Jinping came to office, corruption is still a way of life for many Chinese businesspeople," he says. Time notes Tsang is not the only chief executive in the hot seat: The current one, Leung Chun-ying, is being investigated over allegations he accepted $6.4 million from Australian engineering company UGL in 2012. (Read more Hong Kong stories.)

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