【文章】香港廉政「壞蛋」湯顯明

蘋果日報 013-04-26
A23 | 論壇 | 郭榮鏗(執業大律師)

《香港廉政「壞蛋」湯顯明 》

廉政公署最新一輯以「蛋」為主題的電視廣告,內容是這樣的:在一排健康光鮮的蛋黃中,其中一隻蛋黃卻顯得暗褐混濁,然後其他「好蛋」將這個「壞蛋」擠了出去。接着,旁白便說:「香港人,都有廉潔的核心價值。無論時代怎樣變,我們深信,即使只有一個壞蛋,已經足以破壞我們的標準。不論你的身份、階層,貪污腐化,絕對不可以留低。堅守核心價值,維護廉潔香港。香港,一直勝在有你和ICAC。」

不知道這是不是「自我實現的預言」,但這個廣告,對近期的廉政公署來說,肯定是一個天大的反諷。壞蛋的英文,叫「bad egg」,而「bad egg」除了可直接譯成「壞蛋」之外,也可解作「害群之馬」。對廉政公署來說,那個既是「壞蛋」,亦是「害群之馬」的人,肯定非前廉政專員,現任全國政協委員湯顯明莫屬。

廉政公署自1974年成立以來,即以肅貪倡廉為己任。一方面要打擊貪污罪行,另一方面要教育普羅市民和公職人員廉潔奉公的重要性。既然如此,廉署所有人員──尤其是作為廉署之首的廉政專員,更應以身作則,對請飲請食、送禮餽贈之事戒之慎之。然而湯顯明卻犯了這個最大的禁忌,令人深惡痛絕。而被請客超過20次的中聯辦,其主任張曉明說湯顯明的做法「好正常」,恰好證實湯顯明的做法很對內地官場的口胃,但卻是香港人最害怕和最抗拒的陋習。廉政公署花了數十年時間,對內建立了一套清廉的機構管治文化,對外則屢創廉潔和反貪的佳績,備受香港市民和國際社會稱譽。今日因一個在位僅五年的廉政專員而蒙羞,正好驗證了「建設難而破壞易」這句格言,也是最令人痛心疾首之處。

曾幾何時,梁展文涉嫌在為官時運用職權「輸送利益」給新世界,然後在退休後得新世界集團延攬,獲得一份高薪厚職,立法會尚且通過權力及特權法,調查事件。今日,湯顯明在為官時挪用公帑請客送禮給內地黨政人員,然後在卸任後得他們青睞,被「選」任為全國政協委員,豈不是更應該使用權力及特權法,徹查他的劣行?這個,正是我向立法會提出引用權力及特權法的動議理由,也是所有立法會議員都應該支持引用權力及特權法的原因。

A23-310.1

[NEWSLETTER April 2013—01] Companies Ordinance – directors’ personal data

NEWSLETTER April 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

There are a few important matters that I would like to take this opportunity to report to you from LegCo.

Companies Ordinance – directors’ personal data

Working together with members of the Bar Association and the Law Society, we have successfully persuaded the Government to postpone its plans to introduce search restrictions for directors’ personal data at the Companies Registry.

The proposed new changes would have had a profound impact on many aspects of a lawyer’s practice, and Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre. We need to take a holistic view when considering these proposals, taking into account other privacy issues under various registry regimes now already open to the public. Simply changing the existing arrangements under the CO is short-sighted and unworkable.

We welcome the Government’s decision to postpone this part of the new CO, so as to ensure that the much needed new CO would come into operation as soon as possible without too much controversy.

Again, I sincerely thank members of the profession for speaking out on this issue, and making their views known to the Government.

[NEWSLETTER April 2013—02] Milk powder export ban

Milk powder export ban

In March 2013, the Government took the unprecedented step of imposing an export ban on baby milk powder with the intention to prohibit the secondary export of milk powder to the Mainland markets. The Government also decided to adopt the “negative vetting” procedure coupled with immediate enforcement of such measures before bringing the matter to LegCo for legislative scrutiny. This is a highly unusual procedure which means legislative measures and criminal sanctions were put in place without any prior vetting by LegCo. I immediately wrote to the Chief Secretary to protest against the adoption of such procedure and asked the Government to refrain from taking such steps in future unless in cases of real emergency.

The hasty drafting of the new legislative measures meant that milk products which were not the target of the original policy are now also covered by the legislation, leading to serious confusion at the enforcement level and for members of the public.

The Government has since come up with new amendments to the legislation, on which I have submitted a further amendment to address various legal issues  concerning the definition of milk powder.

It is of paramount importance for Hong Kong that our legislations are kept to the highest standards and in line with the cardinal principles of the rule of law – clarity and certainty.

[NEWSLETTER April 2013—03] Developments at Qianhai and implications for the legal profession

Developments at Qianhai and implications for the legal profession

On 26 March, the AJLS Panel at LegCo discussed the development plans for Qianhai; a matter which I specifically raised as I understand many members are interested in its development and what it means for the future of their practice. The profession has produced a list of recommendations to the Secretary for Justice which includes, amongst others, expanding the use and applicability of the HK common law system to Qianhai, and allowing partnerships between PRC firms and HK firms operating from Guangdong. Some of these proposals are still being considered by the Mainland authorities, and there are some resistance at the political level. It is hoped that all parties will work together to foster consensus and to move matters forward. I shall keep members informed of any new developments.

[NEWSLETTER April 2013—04] Legal Aid Fees Review and the Adjustment of the Scale Rates

Legal Aid Fees Review and the Adjustment of the Scale Rates

I have repeatedly urged the Administration to review and update the criminal legal aid fees which are far too low. The Administration has promised to issue its biennial review result in the second quarter of 2013.

Separately, the rates for calculating legal costs for solicitors in a party and party taxation (the “Scale Rates”) were last revised by the Registrar of the High Court in 1997.  The Law Society has recently commissioned a review of the Scale Rates and formally endorsed the recommendations in the final report, including that the solicitors’ hourly rates be raised to better reflect the current market conditions as well as that the revised Scale Rates be adjusted annually according to an inflation linked index. I am in support of such a review to bring the Scale Rates more in line with market conditions.

I will continue to follow up on both issues through the AJLS Panel in LegCo. Please let me know if you have any views on these matters.

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[NEWSLETTER April 2013—05] Interpretation of the Basic Law by the NPCSC

Interpretation of the Basic Law by the NPCSC

The CFA recently handed down its judgment in the case of Vallejos Evangeline Banao v. Commissioner of Registration. This judgment marks the end of a set of deeply controversial right of abode issues. As you know, the CFA has refused to refer to the matter to the NPCSC for interpretation citing that the condition of necessity justifying a referral was not met in this case.

I sincerely hope that the Government will respect the CFA’s decision as final and conclusive, and that it would not take any further steps to refer the matter to the NPCSC on its own. Any attempt to do so would irreparably damage the rule of law in Hong Kong. The NPCSC is not a judicial body and its power of interpretation should not be used without restraint, and certainly not on this occasion.

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Lastly, I have arranged two Friday tea gatherings for May 2013 the details of which can be found on the next page. I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to let me know any concerns or questions you may have about my work in LegCo. You can also get regular updates on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/cpdenniskwok) or webpage (http://denniskwok.wordpress.com/).

Yours sincerely,

Dennis Kwok

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