I don’t expect John Lee to do much, says CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Sunday that she does not expect the new Chief Secretary, John Lee, to have to do much besides working on safeguarding national security.

Lee, who formerly headed the Security Bureau, was promoted to the number two post last month – a little over a year before this term of government ends.

“It’s just 12 months. To be honest, I have told John Lee: I don’t expect you to do everything in poverty alleviation, youth or ethnic minority works, because you’re not familiar with those issues,” Lam told a Commercial Radio programme.

“[Me as] the chief executive is more familiar in those areas and I’ve been working on them in the past years, so perhaps I will continue to work on them, but [he] must deepen works in relation to national security, especially in preventing and guarding against such threats,” said Lam.

During the hour-long programme, Lam also responded to three top officials’ violation of social distancing rules, saying they were “negligent and not sensitive enough”.

Immigration and customs chiefs Hermes Tang and Au Ka-wing, and undersecretary for security Sonny Au were each fined HK$5,000 for attending a hotpot dinner and flouting a cap on gatherings back in March.

Lam said she’s always stressed that officials should be “whiter than white”, but that the three have paid a price so she hoped that would be the end of the matter.

“They thought it was a private gathering like eating with ten people at home, which was allowed at the time. Some said the food was extravagant but they didn’t know what was on the menu. They couldn’t just stand up and leave when they saw there was a piece of abalone. One must look at the dinner banquet in a more humanised way,” she said.

But Lam said the incident showed everyone is equal before the law, as the fixed penalty tickets were issued a few months after the gathering when the police found out about it during the investigation of another case.