‘Probe underway to find out if officials broke rules’

The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, said a thorough probe will be conducted to find out whether top government officials, who were at a large-scale birthday party which saw several attendees testing positive for Covid-19, had broken the rules.

In a statement issued late on Friday, Lam said a total of 13 top officials have to be quarantined in Penny’s Bay as a result of attending the function in Wan Chai on Monday.

She said these officials won’t be conducting their official duties while in quarantine, and the isolation period will count towards their own personal leave.

The CE added that she’s appointed other officials to take over their duties for the time being.

Civil service secretary Patrick Nip, for example, will double as the head of the Home Affairs Bureau while Caspar Tsui is in quarantine.

Commerce and Economic development minister Edward Yau will also take over the duties of Treasury Secretary Christopher Hui.

Lam said high-level investigations will be conducted to find out if the ministers had violated government rules, adding that she will decide on the appropriate follow-up action once the findings are available.

“Let me reiterate once again that the society needs to stand united in our fight against the pandemic. Government officials, in particular, should set a role model, adhere to strict discipline, maintain high vigilance and avoid taking part in high-risk activities,” she said.

Separately, a spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said on Friday that it was also investigating the restaurant operator and staff as well as those who attended the banquet. It said the restaurant concerned had a provisional general restaurant licence.

The FEHD also said it would step up its inspections.
Last updated: 2022-01-07 HKT 23:51