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SCMP Thursday, September 14, 2000


'Guilt-ridden DAB man wants to quit politics'


Scandal-plagued DAB heavyweight Gary Cheng Kai-nam has a guilty conscience and wants to resign, according to party colleague Chan Yuen-han.
The newly elected unionist legislator said Mr Cheng had recently phoned her twice - shortly after the scandal broke last month, and on Monday during the Legco election vote count. "He said he didn't want to be a legislator any more. He said he had a guilty conscience. I think it is too hard for him although he made those mistakes," she said after an RTHK radio programme.
Her remarks came as the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong's central committee prepared to discuss a preliminary report by its disciplinary committee on the scandal. The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, is widely expected to focus on whether Mr Cheng should step down.
Mr Cheng was found last month to have failed to declare his consultancy firm and to have leaked a confidential document to clients. The disciplinary committee has censured Mr Cheng but decided he need not resign if re-elected.
On Sunday, the DAB list in Island constituency - headed by Mr Cheng - won 72,617, or 28 per cent of votes, enough for Mr Cheng and running-mate Choy So-yuk to win seats.
But calls for Mr Cheng's resignation from Legco have not stopped, with rival political parties pledging to set up a panel to probe the scandal.
Ms Chan urged Mr Cheng to resign and said political figures were not qualified to be legislators if they did not meet high moral standards. "All public servants have to meet a certain standard, that is to be clean-living and law-abiding. There is a need to build up a clean-living and rigorous culture in Hong Kong. How can we be so strict with the Government while being lenient on ourselves?"
Ms Chan was adamant the majority of central committee members would want Mr Cheng to resign. Mr Cheng has not been seen in public since he was elected.
DAB chairman Tsang Yok-sing said he had no idea whether Mr Cheng wanted to resign and stressed Ms Chan's remarks did not represent the central committee.
Democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan, who was returned in New Territories West, said there would be no need to investigate the scandal if Mr Cheng resigned.
Of Mr Cheng's rivals in the poll, only non-affiliated defeated candidate Jennifer Chow Kit-bing said she would join the fray again in a by-election if Mr Cheng resigned. Another loser, Angel Leung On-kay, said she would prefer to concentrate her resources on the next election in 2004.