HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s anti-corruption agency said on Tuesday it is to carry out a criminal investigation into its former chief over allegations he spent vast sums on gifts for mainland officials.
Timothy Tong is accused of overspending on gifts and overseas visits during his five years as commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
According to papers released by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, he spent HK$220,000 ($28,000) on gifts, the bulk of which was for mainland officials, including a HK$4,000 stone carving.
Tong was appointed to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the mainland’s top consultative body, in February after stepping down as commissioner last year, according to the South China Morning Post daily.
Hong Kong’s Department of Justice (DOJ) said it had asked ICAC to conduct a review after “a number of complaints” were lodged.
“On the materials made available, the DOJ considered there is sufficient basis to warrant a criminal investigation,” it said in a statement on its website.
“DOJ has not come to any view on the question of whether or not any prosecution should be commenced against any person in this case. Such a decision will be made at the conclusion of the criminal investigation.”
The commission said the reports “concerning the handling of official entertainment, gifts and duty visits by the former commissioner” had “attracted wide community concerns, with complaints being openly made to the ICAC alleging corrupt practices.”
Tong has been invited to appear before the public accounts committee on Saturday.