A Hong Kong Court [official website] on Wednesday sentenced Donald Tsang, the former Chief Executive from 2005 to 2012, to 20 months in prison [state media report] for his failure to disclose personal conflicts of interest when his cabinet was considering a broadcasting license application by a Chinese property developer. Tsang faced up to a seven-year sentence and his conviction would have originally called for around 30 months imprisonment. Judge Andrew Chan took Tsang’s long public service and reputation into account and decided to remove the last 10 months for a total of 20 months, but noted that Tsang’s “breach of trust was an important and significant aspect in his criminality.”
Hong Kong has recently been faced with political conflict and civil unrest. Last month Tsang pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges of misconduct and accepting advantages due to corrupt dealings during his term. Later in January protests took place in Hong Kong [JURIST report] with an estimated 5,000 people marching in support of pro-democracy politicians because four elected, pro-democracy lawmakers were barred from taking office in 2016 after altering the words in their official oaths. In November a Hong Kong court ruled against [JURIST report] two elected, pro-independence politicians, preventing them from taking local office. In October three officials were barred from their legislative duties [JURIST report] as a result of a political protest launched during their inaugural oaths. The November decision deemed the oaths unfulfilled when two of the legislators pledged their allegiance to the “Hong Kong Nation” as opposed to the People’s Republic of China. The politicians were found to have willfully omitted their duty to take the oath when requested to do so and has their positions automatically invalidated as a result.