"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
Praise the Lord that our former Chief Executive is well and released from prison. Well, I say prison. What I mean is the hospital. He walked out of the custodial ward of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, having made a miraculous recovery. Serving a 12-month sentence for his crimes, he was rushed to hospital last week to receive medical care. He spent a good number of days in the custodial ward during his sentence.
He strolled out to face the press looking bright, robust and cheerful. Cracking a few jokes, he seemed the picture of good health. His opportune illness afforded him the chance to hold his press stand-up without the backdrop of a prison gate. How nice.
Of course, he continues to assert his innocence. He intends to fight on with his appeal in May. Good for him.
He was then rushed away by six highly-trained police bodyguards in a government vehicle. Hong Kong is undoubtedly the most generous of places that we provide such perks and privileges. Exactly why six armed young men are needed to protect Donald remains unknown. Clearly, there must be a severe threat to him that demands this coverage. I’m sure there is a good reason for all this.
The former convict’s first stop on his day of freedom was the exclusive Deep Water Bay Club. Next, he went home.
In fairness, Donald’s toughness stood Hong Kong in good stead when he saw off the predatory currency manipulators in 1998. At the height of the Asian Financial Crisis, they came after the Hong Kong/US currency link intending to make a fortune. As our Financial Secretary, the wee man blocked the door to the vampires. He summoned up all his height “You will not pass.”
George Soros and the other blood-sucking hedge fund managers retreated licking their wounds. If Donald hadn’t acted our economy may have suffered irreparable damage. He also introduced the minimum-wage, the $HK2- travel for the elderly and poured money into the hospitals. Fair play.
On the other side of the balance sheet, he did nothing to resolve the housing crisis and his ‘Blue Sky’ anti-air pollution initiative was laughable. It’s true he enjoyed a high level of popularity throughout his time at CE. That's all evaporated.
It appears he got greedy. Rumours started circulating about his warped sense of privilege. Indeed, his arrogance was on display when I encountered him. Like most of the administrative officer cadre, he had an air of pomposity and self-entitlement that placed him above the common herd. Our current CE has many of the same traits.
The stories gathered pace as it emerged he’d received lavish hospitality from business tycoons. Trips on private jets, outings on luxury boats couldn't be denied when the pictures appeared. But his undoing was the dodgy acquisition of a large flat in Shenzhen and failure to declare an interest. Naturally, the public feared Hong Kong was on a slippery slope back into the old habits of corruption.
Donald’s reputation is now in the toilet. All his assertions of innocence, and pleading to a higher authority won’t shake the belief he compromised himself.
Anyway, welcome back to freedom Donald. Shame that your policies while CE have condemned many to a life of servitude and poverty. I trust your faith will give you some solace.
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.