SCMP Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Cheng stands firm on testimony

SIDNEY LUK


Hong Kong University vice-chancellor Professor Cheng Yiu-cheng stood firm on Wednesday, reiterating what he said on Tuesday, that he never mentioned the Chief Executive's concerns over pollster Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu's work to his colleagues.

Patrick Fung, SC, asked Professor Cheng if he had ever discussed the Chief Executive's opinion of Dr Chung's work with his colleagues Professors Cheng Kai-ming and Felice Lieh-mak. Professor Cheng replied: ''I can say that I definitely have never told them such thing. If I have no recollection, how can I tell them?''

''I cannot possibly tell them something which I never heard... I can recall that I never told them,'' Professor Cheng said.

Professor Cheng also said that he had not attached importance to a visit by Mr Andrew Lo Cheung-on, the Chief Executive's senior special assistant last year, though it was Mr Lo's only visit to his office.

''I have visits from senior government officials quite often ... Unless it is something specific, some specific actions or some specific issues which are of importance, then I would look at it more carefully. But for information sharing, that's it,'' Professor Cheng said.

Asked by Mr Fung that if he mentioned Mr Lo's visit in January last year to the Chief Executive, Professor Cheng replied: ''No, I did not.'' Professor Cheng also said that the Chief Executive did not know of Mr Lo's visit.

The inquiry also heard that Professor Cheng had not reported his meeting with the Chief Executive to the Senior Management Team. ''I never report this kind of meeting. It is very personal and private and information sharing.'' Professor Cheng also said he had not wanted to show off to his colleagues that he had met the Chief Executive.

Before the start of Wednesday's hearing, pro-vice-chancellor Professor Wong Siu-lun promised student protesters outside the building that he would give an account of the inquiry, and urged them to trust the hearing system.