"If you want to read a blog to get a sense of what is going on in Hong Kong these days or a blog that would tell you what life was like living in colonial Hong Kong, this blog, WALTER'S BLOG, fits the bill." Hong Kong Blog Review
"The Chaps in Beijing must be shaking their heads in disbelief at this saga."
After years of division and polarisation in society, Carrie Lam and her team achieved the impossible — they've unified Hong Kong. But, unfortunately for Lam, it is a solidarity of disgust and anger mixed with sniggering at the antics of her top team. A team which she feels is beyond her control.
Ignoring long-standing advice to reduce Covid infections, officials and politicians gathered at a party, along with a suspected infected individual. As a result, a total of 170 guests are now in quarantine at Penny's Bay. At the time of writing, two attendees are showing positive for Covid.
Among those quarantined are the Commissioner of Police, the Director of Immigration, the Commissioner of the ICAC, the Home Affairs minister, and 20 newly elected lawmakers. That's some catch.
Last year, the Director of Immigration, AU Ka-wang, was fined for breaching social distancing rules at a hotpot dinner. On this occasion, he's admitted not using the 'Leave Home Safe' app. What a fine example he is setting to his subordinates.
The timing of this debacle couldn't be worse for the government and especially Lam. Having this week announced new Covid restrictions and taken Cathay Pacific to task for their staff breaking the rules, this incident is a monumental own goal. Also, with the chief executive election due in March, Lam's chances are looking dented given the genuine anger on all sides of the political divide.
While we do not get to elect Lam directly, I'm sure that Beijing takes account of sentiment here. They must be shaking their heads in disbelief at this saga.
Lam went full head-girl to lambast Cathay Pacific after their people got caught breaking the rules to spread Covid in the city. Yet, when called to account for her team's actions, she claimed she was not responsible.
The story developed rapidly yesterday, with initial attempts to play down the incident soon faltering as a wave of outrage swept the city. With in-dining suspended at 6 pm and everyday life disrupted, images of officials partying looks crass.
At least Lam has awoken to the crisis and is now engaged in damage control as she investigates the whole fiasco. The director of her office, Eric Chan, has landed that daunting job. He will need to consider the breaches of the rules, including failures to use the 'Leave Home Safe' app and the broader aspects of unprofessional conduct.
Either way, the damage to reputations is done. Along the way, these officials provided ammunition for Hong Kong's detractors at a significant moment. Many honourable members aren't around with the new LegCo due to start work next week.
Social media has tagged the event as the ‘Witman Hung Cluster’ in honour of the host. Probably not the publicity the flamboyant 'party animal' sought.
If media reports are accurate, Witman loves a good tune, so the best I can do is leave you with the Bee Gees.
Newsflash : the suspected carrier has been declared a 'false positive.' Some are heading home after one night in Penny's Bay, while others will remain under observation.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.