On Monday, the public found out that Holden Chow, vice-chairman of the LegCo committee investigating Chief Executive (CE) CY Leung’s receipt of UGL’s HK$50 million payments, had been “secretly” liaising with the CE. In the MS Word document outlining the scope of the investigation, there were reportedly 47 edits in tracked changes which were made by the user “CEO-CE” (“Chief Executive’s Office – Chief Executive”).
Both Chow and the CE denied wrongdoing
The CE, in heroic fashion, denied wrongdoing and declared that he had every right to make his views known. Likewise, Chow said that he did nothing wrong, because he said that in a criminal case, the accused had a right to discuss with the prosecution on the agreed facts / brief facts (a document which outlines the facts of the case). Chow had every right to discuss the matter with the CE to discuss on the scope of the investigation.
Chow eventually resigned as vice-chairman
It would appear that many are angry not because Chow had discussed the case with the CE, but that Chow did not disclose such discussion with the investigation committee. The fact that Chow was the vice-chairman of the investigation made other members question whether there was conflict of interest. Upon public pressure, Chow resigned from his post as vice-chairman yesterday, though still denying any wrongdoing whatsoever.
The tracked changes function is a dangerous tool
As a lawyer, I know that “tracked changes” is a double edged sword. It is a convenient tool for showing proposed amendments, but it is also very dangerous . There’s always a chance that your opponent had secretly sneaked in some “un-tracked” changes. The best defence is usually review the others’ proposed changes and re-write them in your own document just to make sure. My advice is always re-do the tracked changes yourself.
The “tracked changes” saga had certainly put Chow’s competence into question. The HKEJ even published an article titled “Is he Idiot of the Year or merely Idiot of the Week?” But perhaps we should not be so critical. There’s always a chance that Chow, as he said, had deliberately failed to delete the CE’s tracked changes to either appear loyal to the CE, or to publicly show the absurdity of the so-called investigation committee, one which is comprised of mostly pro-Government lawmakers. If that’s the case, then he’s our tragic hero.