Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying defended his move to threaten legal action against a local newspaper, saying he had acted as the publication’s claims had had a significant impact.
Last Thursday, Leung threatened to sue Apple Daily over an editorial it published on September 8, which the chief executive’s lawyers claimed had “falsely, viciously and maliciously” accused him of corruption.
Ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Leung was asked why he had targeted the paper but had so far taken no legal action against pro-Beijing newspaper Sing Pao, which alleged in a series of high-profile editorials that Leung had been colluding with Beijing’s liaison office and triads.
“It depends on the consequences. If it has a significant impact, then it needs to be clarified,” Leung said.
Leung added that he was not using public money to fund the legal action.
The editorial published by Apple Daily called on newly elected legislators to use the Legislative Council’s special powers to look into the HK$50 million the chief executive received from Australian firm UGL.
Leung’s legal letter argued that the allegations in the editorial affected his ability to exercise his right to stand for re-election.
While critics say the move has damaged press freedom in the city, Leung dismissed such claims.
“Press freedom and the media’s responsibility to report the whole truth do not contradict one another,” Leung said.
The chief executive remained tight-lipped as to whether the legal letter was an indication that he would seek re-election.
Tags: accused of corruption, Apple Daily, censorship, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, free press, freedom of the press, freedoms, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying accused of corruption, Hong Kong's freedoms, press freedom, Press freedom and the media’s responsibility, Sing Pao