HONG KONG — A former leader of Hong Kong was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Wednesday for misconduct in public office, a development in a high-profile trial that has again brought attention to the cozy ties between the city’s political elites and business tycoons.
Donald Tsang, who was the chief executive of Hong Kong from 2005 to 2012, is the highest-ranking former official in the city to be put behind bars.
Tsang was found guilty last week over his failure to disclose his interests when his Cabinet was considering a broadcasting license application by a Chinese property developer from 2010 to 2012. A jury concluded that Tsang had deliberately concealed his plans to lease a three-story penthouse from the developer, Wong Cho-bau, when the developer’s company was seeking government approval for several applications, including one for a digital audio broadcasting license. The applications were approved.
Tsang is planning to appeal his conviction, his wife, Selina, told reporters outside the High Court after the sentencing.
The conviction and sentencing are sure to tarnish the legacy of Tsang, who had served in public office for 45 years, including seven as chief executive, the city’s top political office.
Tsang, 72, faced a maximum sentence of seven years in prison for misconduct in public office. Taking into account his life in public service, the judge cut the original sentence to 20 months from 30 months.
He was acquitted of another charge of misconduct over failing to declare that an interior designer he nominated for an official honor had renovated the penthouse at below market rates.