Caspar Tsui barred from work until party probe over

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that she had ordered Home Affairs Secretary Caspar Tsui not to return to work until a disciplinary investigation is completed into his attendance at a Covid-hit birthday party.

More than a dozen other officials also joined the party on January 3, but Tsui is the only one still off work, Lam said. He will be on leave until February 4.

Lam said the probe is almost finished, and she will try to announce the findings before the Lunar New Year.

The CE stressed that at this stage, it would not be appropriate or fair for her to disclose more information regarding individuals linked to the party saga.

“So this is not a homogeneous group. In other words, one would not expect that the internal investigation would come to the same conclusions and hence the same sanctions for all the 15 officials as a group,” Lam told the press before going into this week’s Executive Council meeting.

Lam did say, however, that she will need to take a deep look into Tsui’s involvement in the controversy.

“The secretary for home affairs is an official whom we have to look into very deeply….He had stayed long, I already told you that he was one of those who stayed for a pretty long period during a pretty late time of the dinner party,” she said.

“And of course his position is the secretary for home affairs, who is involved in the anti-epidemic operation of the HKSAR government.”

The CE added that Tsui needs time off work to fulfil Covid-19 testing requirements.

Lam stressed that politically appointed officials and civil servants are held to high standards, and among other things, they must not bring the SAR government into disrepute.

She reiterated that of all those implicated in the saga, it is Tsui she is most disappointed with.

A guest at the party for National People’s Congress deputy Witman Hung was later found to have Covid-19. The discovery led to quarantine orders for officials and lawmakers who were among more than 200 people present.