Senior officials apologise for attending banquet

Home Affairs Secretary Caspar Tsui and the political assistant of the Development Bureau, Allen Fung, apologised on Thursday for going to a banquet attended by a woman who’s since tested preliminary positive for Covid-19.

The two were sent to the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre after they were identified as close contacts of the infected person.

On a statement published on social media, Tsui said he was sorry for his actions and would take responsibility for his mistakes.

“I would like to apologise to the central government, the Chief Executive, principal officials, my bureau’s colleagues and members of the public,” the home affairs chief wrote.

“As an accountable official, I should be more alert and cautiously make anti-epidemic efforts my top consideration.”

Fung, meanwhile, apologised for failing to strictly comply with anti-epidemic measures, saying he would learn from his mistakes.

Earlier in the day, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at least ten senior government officials had attended the function on Monday, adding that she was “highly disappointed” that so many of them were at a large-scale gathering amid the pandemic.

While Tsui and Fung have been sent to quarantine, the rest – including financial services chief Christopher Hui, police commissioner Raymond Siu and ICAC head Simon Peh – weren’t considered close contacts because they had left the venue before the infected patient arrived.

While the CE refused to divulge details of the gathering, citing privacy considerations, it’s understood that the banquet was held to celebrate the birthday of local National People’s Congress deputy Witman Hung.