"I Have Good Feelings Towards You"
(South China Morning Post) Democrat faces sexual harassment inquiry. October 5, 2009.
Democrat Kam Nai-wai is to face an internal inquiry by his party into allegations that he had sexually harassed an assistant whom he sacked late last month. The party leaders say they are not prepared to report the case to police at this stage, based on the information so far made available by the sacked assistant.
Kam yesterday discounted the sexual-harassment allegations but said his bad temper might be a factor that had triggered the complaint.
Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, also a legislator, confirmed that Kam's former assistant had complained to him and vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing on Wednesday, six days after she was sacked. Ho declined to go into details, citing a request by the complainant not to make public any details about her or the case. But he did say that the complainant had been happy with the party's handling of the case so far.
At a press conference, Kam said: "I have absolutely not sexually harassed anyone. And I have absolutely not sacked anyone because anyone rejected my advances." He acknowledged his bad temper, saying: "Some of my colleagues have told me that I lose my temper too easily. I sometimes want things to be finished very quickly, and I also want to have a hand in even very minor daily routines. "I will reflect on my way of management and will try to improve." He declined to give the real cause of the dismissal.
The party quoted Kam as praising the complainant for being efficient and competent. The veteran democrat, 49, is married, and won a seat in the legislature last year after 14 years as a district councillor or member of the now-defunct urban council. He gained popularity after helping investors in the minibond saga last year. His wife, Candy, attended yesterday's press conference but did not speak.
The complainant joined Kam's office last December and was responsible for drafting speeches for him and co-ordinating his council business and his office's external affairs. Kam terminated her contract on September 24 with immediate effect, after making a payment in lieu of notice.
On Wednesday, she complained in person to Ho and Lau. The Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday quoted sources saying she had complained about being dismissed unreasonably, and that sexual harassment had been involved. Sexual harassment is illegal in Hong Kong.
Ho said: "We are not prepared to confirm or deny what the newspaper report says." The party's central committee would meet on Thursday and was expected to hand the matter to the party's disciplinary committee to investigate, he said.
(Apple Daily) October 4, 2009.
Yesterday's Apple Daily front page:
Kam Nai-fai fired female assistant
after she rejects his suit
According to our information, the female assistant was suddenly dismissed on September 24 effective immediately. This was a surprise to the other employees because the standard procedure is to issue a warning first for poor performance before dismissal.
According to an informed source, the female assistant complained to Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho and vice-chairwoman Emily Lau about sexual harassment. According to a person close to the female assistant, Kam Nai-wai made two declarations of love to her and told her about his past love life. She believed that this went beyond the normal employer-employee relationship and was therefore disturbed. In the end, she was even sacked from her job and she is now even more depressed.
On the day before yesterday, the Democratic Party conference discussed this case. When our newspaper contacted Albert Ho that day, he acknowledged the existence of the case but declined to comment on the grounds that a formal complaint had not been received as yet. Yesterday Albert Ho confirmed to us that he and Emily Lau had received a complaint earlier from a woman against Kam Nai-wai. He said that he and Emily Lau have already met with the woman separately. He said that "the matter has been settled." As to whether the case involved sexual harassment, he said that he cannot divulge the details because it involves personal privacy.
(Apple Daily) October 5, 2009.
Today's Apple Daily front page:
Kam Nai-fai: Lies and evasions
Yesterday Kam Nai-wai held a half-hour long press conference. He read a statement that was about 300 words in length and apologized for "drawing public attention and concerns over this matter." He repeatedly denied sexually harassing the female assistant. When asked why the female assistant was sacked, he declined to say on the grounds of "protecting the female principal" and "not wanting to hurt people anymore."
The reporters asked him repeatedly whether he had professed his love to the female principal, he said "No" and declined to elaborate. But we have learned that after the Democratic Party received the complaint from the female principal, Kam Nai-wai had admitted to Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho and his fellow party members at the Legislative Council that he had professed his love to the female principal. We asked Albert Ho last night about this, but he replied that he won't comment.
During the press conference, Kam Nai-wai refused to comment on the job performance of the female assistant. But after this press conference, Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho held his own press conference. He said that he received a sudden phone call from Kam Nai-wai: "After the press conference, he called me to say that there was something that he should have said but did not. That is, he had been satisfied overall with the performance of this former employee." He claimed that Kam Nai-wai praised the employee for "being capable and responsible, with good job performance." He also said that Kam was "very rueful" about his decision to sack the employee and has written a letter of recommendation that "came from his heart to wish her that she can find her career."
But Albert Ho also declined to disclose the details behind the complaint in the name of protecting the privacy of the female principal, including whether sexual harassment was involved. "I will neither confirm nor deny." He also said that the Democratic Party had consulted the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor which supported the decision. "If the principal does not want to go public, then we won't disclose it ... as of now, we cannot divulge what she told us."
(Apple Daily) October 5, 2009.
According to our information, the female principal was very upset by the attempt of Kam Nai-wai to change the subject. Therefore, as soon as Kam Nai-wai's press conference ended, she immediately communicated her dissatisfaction to the Democratic Party. She asked the Democratic Party to clarify that she had not been dismissed for poor job performance. In order to assuage the female principal, Democratic Party Albert Ho had to call a press conference and made a public statement on the good job performance of the female principal while quoting Kam Nai-wai.
According to an informed source, the female principal had been bothered by this affair over the past two to three months. She is under even greater pressure now that the matter is made public. More than two months ago, Kam Nai-wai first professed his love for the female principal. He apologized but then his attitude towards her changed. For the sake of avoiding embarrassment as well as any recurrence, the female principal was looking to change jobs. But Kam Nai-wai expressed his love again and sacked her after she refused again.
Yesterday someone was circulating another version of the story. The female principal was supposed to have been suffering from depression after a failed romance. Her supervisor offered his concern and support, but she misunderstood his intentions. But other people close to the female principal said that someone was trying to change the focus in order to "get off" and that it was immoral to insult a woman once more.
Before being hired by Kam Nai-wai, the female principal was the assistant to former Legco member Mandy Tam. Last night, Tam gave a positive review of the job performance of the female principal. Tam said that the female principal is a very devout Christian who would never accept a proposal from a married man.
(Apple Daily) October 5, 2009.
According to information, Kam Nai-wai has promised to pay HKD 100,000 to the female principal in order to settle the matter. At the typical monthly salary of HKD 20,000 for assistants, this is equivalent to five months' pay. At the time when the female assisant was sacked, Kam Nai-wai offered her the legally mandated one month severance pay.
(The Standard) Sacked Kam aide is `a good Christian girl' Nickkita Lau. October 5, 2009.
Former TV reporter Wong Lai-chu was yesterday identified as the assistant sacked by legislator Kam Nai- wai. Calls to Wong were diverted to her mailbox but the confirmation came from her one-time employer former legislator Mandy Tam Heung- man, who said she believed in Wong's innocence and truthfulness. "I trust her 100 percent in everything she told me," Tam said. "She is a devout Christian who would not get into a romantic relationship with a married man."
Wong, who is in her 30s, is unmarried. Before becoming Tam's assistant she worked for various media outlets including ATV. "She's a very competent, responsible as well as loyal employee. I was very satisfied with her performance when she worked for me," Tam said.
She said Wong has been through tremendous stress in recent weeks and that as a good friend and former employer, she will try to line up a new job for her. She also felt bad as she had introduced Wong to Kam.
Kam, who denies any wrongdoing, has projected a family image since he was elected last year.
He is often accompanied to official functions by his wife, Candy, who has also proved an excellent hostess at many media gatherings. The couple invited reporters to their 23rd anniversary celebrations in February.
Kam often mentions his wife and the couple's daughter, a Secondary Four student, in his blog. In July, Candy took a week off work to look after their daughter who had human swine flu. A month after she recovered, the family headed to Europe for a holiday which Kam said was "too expensive to remember."
After what Kira did during the Edison Chen sexy photo gate, all public figures should know what is meant by "squeezing the toothpaste tube," which is a way to do maximum damage to a person's credibility. In the Edison Chen case, the record company said that the photos were fabricated, so Kira posted more photos; Gillian Chung said that she was "very silly, very naive" and Kira posted more photos that are even more compromising. Intentionally or otherwise, a small amount of negative material is released in order to entice the principal to respond; over time, these responses are gradually exposed as lies as more negative materials are released as evidence. This is the way to totally ruin a person.
A recent case of "squeezing the toothpaste tube" is the matter of the Cheng Seng School. Just when the school became a media darling, a small exposé claimed the school had invested in an erotic venue. The school held a press conference to disavow such, and the media ran a huge exposé to show that the school was lying not just about this erotic venue but also about its general charitable activities. At this time, the Cheng Seng School principal is no longer responding to media questions as the school tries to repair its reputation.
On Sunday, Kam Nai-wai held a high-profile press conference to deny that "the female assistant was dismissed because of sexual harassment or a failed romantic suit." But he left some unanswered questions by saying that he will not disclose the reason for the dismissal in order to protect that former assistant. We never demanded our legislators to be as clean as a sheet of white paper, but Kan's response only fosters this demand. The unanswered questions only make the media want to delve into the details. Already, the media has contacted the Mandy Tam, the former employer of the female assistant, to show that Kam was lying. It is just a matter of time before the media finds the female assistant herself.
My guess is that it is almost 100% certain that the next issue of <Next Weekly> will contain more explosive material, such as an interview with the female assistant including even recordings that show that Kam Nai-wai has been lying. The evidence on the other side could be stronger than your empty talk. If the press conference yesterday was just a bull session, it should never have been held in the first place. To prove that the media is doing a job on Kam, the relevant documents and records on the dismissal of the female assistant should be produced instead of using the ambiguous excuse of "protecting the female principal and therefore not releasing the information." If Kam made an advance on the female assistant, he should have admitted it; if Kam sacked her because of the failed romantic suit, he should have admitted it. He can disarm the bomb himself by admitting his mistakes. He can stage a reconciliation in front of the press and offer compensation/re-hiring to her. The Democratic Party is totally ignorant about who Kam's enemy is: it is not the female former assistant -- it is his "ally" <Next Media> which can destroy his reputation.
[ESWN Comment: (1) Human flesh search has identified the female former assistant (see HK Golden Forum and HK TV Clips). (2) Why would the pro-democracy <Next Media> go after Democratic Party legislator Kam Nai-wai? The answer is fairly straightforward going back to Anson Chan's run for the 2007 Hong Kong Island Legco by-election and the nomination of the Democratic Party candidate to replace the retired Martin Lee in the 2008 Legco election.]
(SCMP) 'No need for lawmaker in scandal to quit' By Ambrose Leung. October 6, 2009.
The evidence surrounding an alleged sex scandal involving Democratic Party legislator Kam Nai-wai did not warrant his immediate resignation, party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said yesterday.
But as new claims emerged over the lawmaker's sacking of his assistant allegedly because the latter rejected his advances, Ho said Kam's resignation would be inevitable if it was proved that he had a credibility problem.
"As party chairman, I will not, at this stage, ask him to resign based on the information I have right now," Ho said. "I do not know what will happen after the investigation, but right now the seriousness of his mistake does not warrant his resignation." Ho was responding to growing speculation that Kam was considering resigning from the legislature.
Last night, the Legislative Council Secretariat received a copy of a complaint letter from a member of the public addressed to the Democratic Party over the incident. It has been referred to the council's complaints section for follow up.
The Democratic Party will discuss the matter at its central committee meeting on Thursday before deciding whether to launch a full-scale investigation, and whether non-party members will be invited to sit on the panel to increase accountability. Since the scandal broke in the media on Sunday, party leaders have sought to limit damage to the party's image by publicly pledging to launch an internal investigation into whether Kam sexually harassed his assistant, Kimmie Wong, before sacking her last month.
The row took a new twist yesterday when former Civic Party legislator Mandy Tam Heung-man, whom Wong worked for before Tam lost her seat in the 2008 Legco election, said Kam had allegedly "expressed his affection" towards Wong on at least two occasions before her sacking. Tam said Wong had told her the details of the incident, but she did not want to elaborate.
"The problem now is not whether Kam has wrongfully dismissed his assistant, but whether he has fired her after her rejection of his advances. He has publicly lied about ever making any expression of affection and he must resign for losing his credibility," Tam said.
Speaking in an RTHK interview yesterday, Kam reiterated that he had not sexually harassed Wong or expressed any affection to her. "I am making this very clear: I have not made any affectionate advances," Kam said. But he admitted his decision to sack her was inappropriate, and said he considered Wong's performance to be satisfactory. "Thinking back, I would not have fired her if I had the chance to do it again."
While repeated attempts to reach Wong were unsuccessful, Tam said Wong was sacked on the morning of September 24 after a heated argument between the pair.
Wong, who has complained to friends about Kam's alleged advances to her, has filed a complaint to the Democratic Party leadership. She has met Ho and party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing.
Wong has contacted the Equal Opportunities Commission to inquire whether it can help but the response was "lukewarm", she said. A spokeswoman for the commission said she would not comment on individual cases. But she called on any victims of alleged sexual harassment to come forward and to file a complaint to the commission.
(Ming Pao) October 6, 2009.
Yesterday, nore holes were poked into Kam Nai-wai's explanation of the dismissal of the female assistant. First, Apple Daily disclosed that he had paid more than HKD 100,000 to the female assistant in compensation. Then Mandy Tam, a former Legislator and the former employer of the female assistant, publicly stated that Kam Nai-wai made two advances to the female assistant so there could be no misunderstanding and since he lied, he should resign from the Legislative Council. In the evening, Cable TV reported that Kam Nai-wai had admitted to Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho that he had made advances to the female assistant. As a result, the Democratic Party devised three remedial measures: (1) they asked Kam Nai-wai to pay six to nine months of pay to the female assistant as compensation for unfair dismissal; (2) Albert Ho or Democratic Party vice chairwoman Emily Lau will hire the female assistant while Kam Nai-wai pays for the salary; (3) Kam Nai-wai writes a letter of apology to the female assistant, admitting that the dismissal was improper and affirming her job performance.
Last night, Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho told our reporter that he cannot discuss the Cable TV report because he has to protect the privacy of the complainant. But he said that certain details may have different interpretations.
At the press conference on the day before yesterday and on RTHK yesterday, Kam Nai-wai repeatedly emphasized that he has never declared his love to the female assistant. This astonished many Democratic Party insiders. Although the Democratic Party is trying to make amends to the female assistant and settle the matter, they do not believe that Kam Nai-wai should present an inaccurate account; they thought that he might deny the job dismissal as being unrelated to any romantic suit, they did not imagine that he would completely deny ever making any advance and even smear the female assistant. As a result, this is bound to anger the female assistant and those who are helping her, bringing out even more inside stories.
On RTHK yesterday, Kam Nai-wai firmly denied even professing love to the female assistant. He said that he dismissed the female assistant because of arguments over her work during the past two to three months. He said: "My wife knows about the conversation ... but if I publicly disclose the content of the conversation, it would be unfair to the princpal." Kam Nai-wai said that he has proposed to the female assistant to hire her again. With respect to the media report that he has offered to pay more than 100,000 in compensation, he only said: "Both sides accepted the conditions of the employment contract. But I cannot discuss this publicly." When asked whether the additional compensation comes from public money, he said: "The amount stated in the contract comes from public money. Anything outside the contract does not come from public money."
According to the latest report filed by Kam Nai-wai, the female assistant receives a monthly salary of HKD 22,500.
(Sing Tao) October 6, 2009.
Yesterday Mandy Tam said on radio that certain Democratic Party members are telling the media that the female principal was having emotional problems and misunderstood the words of comfort from her supervisor. She said that they are trying to make light of the matter.
Mandy Tam said that the female principal had told her about the details. "There were at least two occasions when advances were made. If it was a misunderstanding the first time, then how could there be a second time? Can the second time be a misunderstanding?"
Mandy Tam pointed out that the female assistant is a devout Christian. She once had a married boyfriend. As soon as she found out the man was married, she broke up with him immediately. So there was no way that she would accept Kam Nai-wai. "The principal stated her rejection very clearly. She said, 'You have a wife!'" According to information, Kam Nai-wai's advance was very direct. He expressed his love for the female principal in frank terms: "I have an eye for you" and "I am really like you." There is no ambiguity in the phrasing which may result in misunderstanding.
With respect to the other version from some Democratic Party members, Mandy Tam said that it was "shameless": "It is shameless to continue to smear the female principal and harm her one more time ... I feel that I have to clarify that there is no Rashomon in this case. There is only one version!"
According to the version from a Democratic Party member, Kam Nai-wai was comforting the female assistant after she broke up with her boyfriend. They were at a tea restaurant. Kam Nai-wai said things like "Even though you are not young, you are pretty. If I weren't married, I would have liked you too." This Democratic Party member said that these were just words of comfort and not an expression of love interest.
(Apple Daily) October 6, 2009.
Claiming that he wants to solve the crisis for the Democratic Party
Kam Nai-wai postures to resign
According to what informed sources told Cable TV, Kam Nai-wai admitted to the other eight Democratic Party members in the Legislative Council that he expressed his feelings towards the female assistant and he admitted that he "erred." Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho told him that it was "very wrong, very immoral." Albert Ho pointed out that the dismissal of the female assistant afterwards "would make anyone think that this was due to the rejection of a love suit." Albert Ho said that Kam may have to resign if the case were made public.
The report also said that Albert Ho thought that there was no need to hold a disciplinary hearing. "It has not gone to that serious stage" and he only recommended that Kam Nai-wai be reprimanded internally within the Democratic Party. An internal reprimand among his peers was deemed sufficient punishment. Besides a disciplinary hearing may result in the case going public. The Democratic Party members at the Legislative Council were "asked not to discuss the matter with anyone."
According to information, the Cable TV report contained certain details of the meeting of the Democratic Party members in the Legislative Council. Democratic Party members cannot understand how those details were leaked out.
EastWeek: October 6, 2009
The detailed version of the dismissal of the female assistant
Expose how Kam Nai-wai is a big liar
Expressed love on two occasions: "I have affections for you!"
(The Standard) Crying Shame. By Patsy Moy and Beatrice Siu. October 7, 2009.
Scandal-hit lawmaker Kam Nai-wai was reduced to tears last night as he opened his heart about how he came to sack his attractive political assistant. With talk of a lunge for love swirling about him, 49-year-old Kam, a married man with a teenage daughter, admitted he had used the words "good feeling" when he and one-time ATV newsgirl Kimmie Wong Lai-chu were in a restaurant in June. On air, he apologized to her, his wife and the people who voted for him.
It was a "sentimental moment" in the restaurant, Kam told Commercial Radio listeners, though he insisted he was only being sympathetic to Wong as she was troubled in her love life. Kam also said it was the only occasion he had been alone with Wong outside his office and denied the "good feeling" was an indication of love. "Getting back to reality, I have never acted in any way to indicate love, such as sending her flowers," he said. "I do not lie. I have never indicated any love for her."
After that June get-together, Kam said, he noticed Wong was uncomfortable in his presence and kept her distance, even after he had apologized for any misunderstanding. Kam became emotional several times during the 90 minutes he was on air, especially when describing the impact the scandal was having on his wife and daughter. "My wife has been very nice to me and supportive," he said of the days since he told her about what had happened. "She also gave me some advice."
But Kam said he "could sense my wife was unhappy though she did not say anything." But, according to him, they are weathering the storm. "We have been married for 20-odd years and have been together for more than 30 years. Now, in this troubled time, we are experiencing true love."
Returning to the situation in his office, Kam said it was in early or mid- September that he invited Wong and another assistant for lunch to "ease the tension." When the other assistant turned down the invitation, Kam said, he asked Wong over the phone whether she was willing to go for lunch. She refused. It was on September 23 that he decided to sack Wong. By Kam's telling, she refused to join a staff meeting, claiming she was tied up on other work. He gave her a letter of dismissal the following day.
"I sacked her because I could not accept her work attitude. She was very unhappy and asked me whether there was any other solution. I said changing her work attitude was the only way." When he returned to the office in the evening, Kam recalled, Wong had packed her personal belongings. He learned later that Wong had lodged a complaint with Democratic Party vice chairwoman Emily Lau Wai- hing the same day. Kam also said he was "ill-tempered" by nature and admitted that he constantly scolded Wong and his other colleagues.
He acknowledged too that he was wrong in trying to "share" Wong's troubles. Kam then told listeners that he intends to hold on to his job as a lawmaker. "I will accept and fully cooperate in any investigation by the party and the Legislative Council," he added. "I will not give up easily as I said in my [electioneering] slogan. I hope the public can give me a chance."
The Legco Secretariat has so far received seven complaints, and Democratic Party lawmaker Fred Li Wah- ming said it would be best for the Legco committee responsible for overseeing members' conduct to handle an investigation.
Most respondents in a snap poll said Wong should appear in public to give a clear account of the case.
(South China Morning Post) I told my aide of my feelings for her: lawmaker. Albert Wong and Ambrose Leung. October 7, 2009.
Under-fire Democratic Party lawmaker Kam Nai-wai last night admitted he once told his former assistant he had feelings for her, but felt that did not amount to making advances to her. Kam is embroiled in a scandal over the sacking of the former aide, Kimmie Wong, which has sparked speculation that he fired her because she rejected his advances.
On a Commercial Radio programme, Kam said he was willing to subject himself to any form of investigation, but hoped to continue serving the public and fighting for democracy. He had no plans to step down.
Kam, who has been married for more than 20 years, held back tears as he described his feelings of guilt for putting his assistant, his family, his party and other supporters under pressure. "For all of this, I have to bear the responsibility," he said.
On Sunday, Kam denied media allegations that he had made advances to Wong, even though he reportedly told Democratic Party members that he had expressed affection for her. Kam stressed yesterday he had not lied, and did not consider that his actions amounted to an act of courtship. "I'm a straight person and I said I had feelings for her, but I did not once, in the whole period she worked for me, act in any way to pursue her."
In June, while Wong was having relationship problems, Kam said he tried to console her in a one-to-one personal discussion away from work. The pair exchanged anecdotes about their relationship experiences, Kam said. He stressed that it was in this context that he voiced his feelings for her. "I cannot say that what I said was confined to just consoling," he said.
He had quickly apologised when he realised the impropriety of his expression. Kam said Wong may have felt he was making advances to her last month when he offered to take her and another staff member across the border for a meal and a massage. However, because the other staff member could not make the trip, "she may have felt I was planning a date with her alone", he said.
But having denied he was a sexual predator, Kam admitted to being a bad employer, losing his temper and firing her on the spot because of her attitude over a particular incident. "As a responsible employer, I will never do this again. For all of this, I want to say to her again, I'm sorry."
Former lawmaker Mandy Tam Heung-man, Wong's former employer, said: "Justice has been served." She said the public was now able to judge whether Kam's expression was an act of pursuit.
(China Daily) HK legislator Kam admits to 'fondness' for assistant October 7, 2009.
Beleaguered legislator Kam Nai-wai declares he will not resign over an alleged sexual scandal involving a female assistant. He admitted he abruptly fired her, although during a phone-in radio program he said that he was "fond of" the woman. The Democratic Party lawmaker insisted he did not "express his love" for the assistant, did not court her, and did not send her flowers. He said the assistant declined to attend a meeting, so he fired her, which prompted her complaint to the Democratic Party.
Since the scandal broke over the weekend, Kam has steadfastly refused to admit that any emotional entanglements were involved in the termination of his former assistant. During the radio phone-in program, Kam revealed that he has had difficulties in his marital relationship with his wife, and he apologized to her and to his former assistant. Kam said he has told the truth about the affair and that he hopes people will give him a chance.
The Legislative Council (LegCo) has received an official complaint over the matter, which was initially handled internally by the Democratic Party. But that process has been widely criticized for lacking transparency. Some party members were now calling for an independent inquiry. Kam has been absent from LegCo meetings since the scandal broke out.
Earlier, former legislator Mandy Tam Heung-man denied it was she who leaked the identity of the woman involved in the alleged sex scandal. Speaking to Cable Television by telephone, Tam said reporters guessed the name of Wang Lai-chu, who allegedly was fired by Kam after she rejected his sexual advances. "Reporters called to ask if it was she. What can I say? Deny it? Can I lie and say it's not her?" she said.
The saga of the 49-year-old married legislator and the attractive former political aide has became the talk of the town since it was reported over the weekend. Tam, a former employer and a friend of Wong's, has proven an important source of information. That has brought her under criticism, some charging Tam caused more hurt to the victim than the alleged sexual harassment. Tam admitted that Wong had asked her to stop talking to media on Monday. She felt obligated to defend the young woman against "smear" attempts, Tam said.
Some newspapers quoting unnamed sources as saying Wong had mistaken Kam's efforts to comfort her during a painful breakup to be sexual advances. Tam again insisted she was not politically motivated in exposing the scandal. "I'm not trying to gain publicity or keep myself in the media spotlight. I will not run for election," she said, before hurriedly adding, "in Hong Kong Island (geographical constituency)".
Now independent, Tam is a former member of the Civic Party. She was elected to the legislator for the Accountancy Functional Constituency in 2004 by a thin margin, but was defeated four years later. Wong, a former ATV anchor, had worked for Tam when Tam ran for the Legislative Council (LegCo) seat. Tam helped Wong to acquire the political aide's post in Kam's office after Tam's defeat.
Tam said Kam expressed affection for Wong on at least two occasions. She said that Wong, a devout Christian, rejected the married man's advances.
Wong was fired September 24. Wong had complained to the Democratic Party and the Equal Opportunity Commission without apparent effect. The Democratic Party refused further comment pending its Central Committee meeting on Thursday.
Public complaints had been made to the Legislative Council and the Equal Opportunity Committee. Chan Mo-po, a member of LegCo's Committee on Member's Interests, said the incident can be investigated by his committee or an independent committee if that approach is deemed to be more appropriate. The Equal Opportunity Committee said it does not comment on individual cases.
(The Standard) One-sided story is half truth. By Mary Ma. October 7, 2009.
The "Kam fire" is spreading quickly.
Last night, Democratic Party lawmaker Kam Nai-wai took to the airwaves to give for the first time an account of what happened between him and his former female assistant in the months before her summary dismissal.
The raging fire has become so big that it has not only caught the Democratic Party in a political mire, but also baffled the public, which has been forced to rely on second- and third-hand information in trying to understand the case.
Even a day can be too long in politics, and the Democratic Party must act speedily to sort out the matter.
The public is concerned about the Kam scandal because it involves an ethical issue of a very high level. The stakes are no longer confined to Kam's political future. If party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan is seen as failing to handle the complaint properly, he would also risk getting burned and his political career badly affected.
Up to now, Kam has denied the accusation that he sacked his assistant Kimmie Wong Lai-chu after the woman rebuffed his romantic advances.
The party insists it cannot reveal too much of the incident at the aggrieved party's request, while former legislator Mandy Tam Heung-man goes around making like she is the complainant's spokesperson on the matter.
Perhaps it was improper for Tam to speak on Wong's behalf without her consent. But what matters most at the end of the day is what the people at the crux of the issue say, regardless of what others may have said.
So far, Wong has neither appeared in public nor spoken a word about the case. The absence of her version is evidently giving rise to rumor and innuendo. Of all the messages heard so far, some are factual and others hearsay or speculation. Without hearing first- hand from Wong, the matter will never be clarified. Maybe it is time for her to consider stepping forward to give her account of the events. This will require courage, but it will also help the public understand the truth in the face of so much rhetoric.
The Standard was the first media outlet to identify the complainant in its coverage. Careful consideration had been given to many factors before a decision was made to publish her name. Respect for the complainant was one, but not the only factor. I believe the stories - without casting any negative light on Wong - provided more attributed, rather than unattributed, information for the public.
So far, the scandal has not risen to the level of sexual harassment. But at stake, as I previously mentioned, is the moral integrity of a directly elected politician and a major political party. This is all about public interest.
The fire is spreading rapidly, and it now looks like the Legislative Council will take up the investigation, as Democratic Party veteran Cheung Man- kwong declared his party lawmakers will recuse themselves to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
But how can the independent investigation proceed without Wong's input?
Next Magazine: October 7, 2009
Kam Nai-wai sets himself on fire
Chasing the female television announcer
(photo of Kimmie Wong, the former female assistant)
(Ming Pao) October 8, 2009.
Yesterday Ming Pao interviewed 421 Hong Kong citizens by an interactive voice system calling randomly drawn telephone numbers. The question was whether Legislative Councilor Kam Nai-wai should resign. The results showed that 53% of the respondents said Kam should resign, 20% said no and 27% had no opinion or don't know. When asked for an opinion about the survey result, Chinese University of Hong Kong Political and Administrative Science Department senior lecturer Choi Chi-keung said that interactive voice interviewing is not reliable and therefore it is hard to say whether the majority of citizens want Kam to resign.
As a non-random sample, Ming Pao also reported RTHK listener comments. A Ms. Wong said that Kam Nai-wai does not have to resign because there has not yet been an investigation to get to the truth and that the female principal has spoken publicly leaving only a partial view. A Ms. Fung questioned whether this matter even requires an investigation and that it was a waste of public money to get the Legislative Council to investigate. "This is quite ridiculous to ask the Legislative Council to investigate whether someone had expressed affection for someone else. This is actually a small matter."
(Apple Daily) October 8, 2009.
Yesterday our newspaper received a reader's tip that Kam Nai-wai had checked into a hotel in North Point. At around 10:30am, we used the in-house telephone system to call Room 909. When the other party picked up the phone, our reporter asked for Mr. Kam Nai-wai. The person on the other side of the line said, "That's me." When the reporter identified himself and asked for an interview, the person on the other side was silent for almost 3 seconds before asking: "How did you find out that I am here?" He then said that he will not be interviewed. Then he hung up the telephone.
Half an hour later, our reporter found the expressionless Kam Nai-wai came out of the hotel with luggage in hand and went to his car in the parking lot.
When asked why he moved into a hotel, he said: "Many media workers came to my home yesterday. It was not nice to bother other people. So I moved out. I really did not want my neighbors to be affected." He said that he has checked out of the hotel.
The reporters have actually stayed outside his apartment building for some days already. But he only moved out to a hotel last night. He explained: "I wanted to move on for one day to see how things are like." He admitted that the incident has affected his wife. When asked whether he argued with his wife and therefore moved into a hotel, he said: "No, no, no, no! Absolutely not! Absolutely not!" Then he claimed to be going home and drove away.
(The Standard) Aide crucial to Kam inquiry. October 8, 2009.
The willingness of the sacked assistant of scandal-hit lawmaker Kam Nai-wai to testify will be crucial to the success of an independent inquiry by Human Rights Monitor, its director said. "A proper investigation will not be possible if the assistant refuses to cooperate with us, and to disclose the full details of what happened," Law Yuk-kai said. "It is like asking a doctor to conduct an accurate diagnosis of a patient who refuses to undergo a medical checkup." Law said he will invite those experienced in handling human rights and equal opportunities complaints from among women's groups and the legal profession to sit on the three to five-member panel. Law told The Standard the panel would not be given a time frame, but he hopes it will be able to complete the investigation quickly because of widespread public interest. The issue has also drawn concern from the Women's Commission, which said yesterday it is "monitoring developments in the Kam incident."
Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said the party has invited the Human Rights Monitor to spearhead the probe. He acknowledged that difficulties may arise if fired political assistant Kimmie Wong Lai-chu refuses to testify. Ho's announcement came a day after Kam went on air to give his account of what happened in the months before Wong's dismissal on September 24.
Kam, 49, married with a teenage daughter, admitted he used the words "good feeling" when he and Wong were in a restaurant in June. But he denied it was an expression of love for the former TV reporter, who is single and in her 30s. Kam is expected to appear before the party's central committee today to clarify what deputy chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing has described as inconsistencies in his statements over the past few days.
Chinese University government and public administration associate professor Ma Ngok said inviting Human Rights Monitor is one way for the Democratic Party to regain public confidence. "At least, the public will trust an independent panel which has no reason to protect or to attack Kam," Ma said. However, he noted the saga also reveals splits within the party with some members leaking private information of the sacking to the media. "Conflicts among members are not uncommon, but it appears this saga has been brought to public attention to get rid of Kam," he said.
(SCMP) Democrats' harassment probe given to rights body By Albert Wong and Ambrose Leung. October 8, 2009.
The Democratic Party has handed its investigation of alleged sexual harassment involving legislator Kam Nai-wai over to a respected human rights group. Human Rights Monitor will set up a three- to five-member panel to investigate allegations that Kam sacked his assistant, Kimmie Wong, after she rejected his advances. This emerged yesterday, amid doubts whether Wong would take part in the inquiry because she is unwilling to have details disclosed. The party leadership is bracing for a stormy meeting of its central committee tonight. The meeting will formally authorise the launch of the inquiry and Kam, who will attend, is expected to be questioned by several colleagues who have called for him to resign. Wong was keeping a low profile, as she had since the scandal broke on Sunday, although party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said he had talked to her last night about taking part in the investigation.
Human Rights Monitor director Law Yuk-kai said that if Wong would not come forward, it would be almost impossible to complete the inquiry. "The inquiry will benefit her as well, as it will finally put this whole saga to an end," he said, adding that the group had already tried to contact her through an intermediary.
Ho said he had briefed Wong on the procedure and told her certain details of the case would be published in the investigation report. He dismissed allegations by some party members that the leadership was trying to cover up the facts, saying they were bound to keep silent under an agreement with Wong. "The complainant has repeatedly requested us not to publicise the details of her complaint. She has ... thanked me for not talking," Ho said.
Kam, who initially issued a blanket denial, admitted publicly on Tuesday that he had told Wong that he "had feelings for her" in June, before sacking her on September 24 following months of conflict.
Law said people with a legal background and knowledge of gender issues would be on the panel. "We have many of these people as members already, but we will not restrict ourselves, we will look for the most suitable candidates. They do not have to be members," he said.
The group was established in 1995 as an independent, non-partisan organisation to promote human rights protection. Amongst its founding members are former lawmaker Christine Loh Kung-wai, former Bar Association chairman Philip Dykes SC and University of Hong Kong law faculty dean Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun SC.
"The right candidates should have good public standing and no political affiliations so that the public can have confidence in the final report," Law said. He urged all parties involved to co-operate, since it would be near-impossible for the inquiry to complete its task if the individuals were unwilling to offer information. He acknowledged that Wong might be hesitant and group members wanted to meet her first to take all her concerns into account. Should the inquiry to go ahead, he said it would be inevitable that the final report publicised some of the basic facts of the circumstances, but would not disclose personal details. The group would conduct the inquiry on a volunteer basis but may request funding from the Democratic Party if it needed to hire interpreters or translators, Law said.
(Hong Kong Research Association) (1,081 persons age 18 or over were interviewed by interactive voice system between October 5-7, 2009)
Q1. Legislative Councilor Kam Nai-wai said: He did not fire his female assistant because his expression of affection for her had been rejected. Do you believe him?
17%: No opinion
Q2. Kam Nai-wai said: He did not sexually harass his female assistant. Do you believe him?
17%: No opinion
Q3. Do you believe that the personal ethical conduct of Kam Nai-wai meets your expectation for a Legislative Councilor?
17%: No opinion
Q4. How does this affair change your opinion of the members of the Legislative Council?
4%: For better
30%: The same
58%: For worse
8%: No opinion
Q5. How does this affair change your opinion of the Democratic Party?
5%: For better
24%: The same
62%: For worse
9%: No opinion
Q6. Do you think that the Legislative Council should conduct an investigation of this affair?
19%: No opinion
(South China Morning Post) Legco set to probe Democrat 'sexual harassment' case
The legislature is set to investigate the alleged sexual harassment case involving Democratic Party lawmaker Kam Nai-wai, who is accused of sacking his assistant after she rejected his advances. But the proposal to empower the Legislative Council Committee on Members' Interests to investigate, which will be discussed today, was questioned by the Civic Party. This was despite support from most of the major political groups, including the Democratic Party.
At a meeting of the Legco complaints division, which has received more than a dozen complaints on the matter, lawmakers recommended that the Legco House Committee should empower the members' committee to investigate, on the grounds that Kam was allegedly involved in "sexual harassment", "improper use of public funds" in compensating his sacked assistant Kimmie Wong, and for having an integrity problem "arising from the way he provided different versions of his explanation".
"We have decided there is a basis for follow-up of the complaint raised," independent lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, the meeting's convenor, said.
Despite mounting pressure for him to resign or at least quit the Democrats, Kam said he would not quit. "But I am willing to co-operate fully with any investigations." He resumed attending public functions yesterday after keeping a low profile for several days.
After the scandal broke on Sunday, Kam has repeatedly denied making any advances towards Wong, despite later admitting he had told her of his "feelings for her". Wong, who has never publicly commented other than filing a complaint to the Democrats after being sacked on September 24, had allegedly rejected Kam's advances in June.
The party's central committee last night convened a hearing to question Kam, during which it decided to hand the investigation to the Human Rights Monitor. Democrats chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said his party would also support a Legco investigation, although Wong was still considering whether to take part in any inquiries. But he dismissed calls for Kam to quit. "There was no call for him to resign. It was only rumour spread to the media."
Both the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Liberal Party said they supported a full Legco investigation. But Civic Party lawmakers expressed reservations. "Compelling her [Wong] to attend an investigation when she was not willing to do so could do more harm than good," said party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee who believed a full investigation based on complaints by a third party could set a bad precedent.
The Committee on Members Interests, which has Legco's special power to summon witnesses, only deals with declarations of interest and misuse of public funds, while the setting up of a select committee to investigate such matters would be "simply wrong," said Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee. Select committees and summonsing powers could only be used for public policy matters, and not disciplinary matters, she said.
(South China Morning Post) Lawmaker's fired aide ready to help with probe By Fanny W.Y. Fung. October 17, 2009.
The former political assistant sacked by Democratic Party lawmaker Kam Nai-wai has agreed to help the legislature draft the accusations for an investigation of his conduct.
Speaking through her lawyer, Kimmie Wong told the chairwoman of the Legislative Council's House Committee, Miriam Lau Kin-yee, that she was willing to assist in the wording of the charges against Kam, which would be used for a motion to disqualify him from office. But Wong did not say whether she was also willing to assist in the subsequent investigation.
Wong complained to Democratic Party leaders on September 24 about her dismissal. Kam, who is married, initially denied media reports that he had made advances to her. He later admitted telling her he had feelings for her, but denied that meant he had made advances. There has been speculation of a link with her dismissal.
At yesterday's House Committee meeting, legislators Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, independent Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, and Philip Wong Yu-hong, of the commercial sector, volunteered to sponsor the motion to disqualify Kam from office, which would be tabled by Lau. But Ip Kwok-him said later that he might withdraw because he thought there should be a pan-democrat among the three.
Paul Tse Wai-chun, of the tourism sector, said he would seek to halt the censure process by bringing a motion against it. "Without a promise by the plaintiff to give evidence, the whole process will just be a waste of the Legco's time," he said. "It's a farce. It's a joke. I find the whole investigation is just a result of pressure from the media." But no one supported his comments at the meeting.
Ahead of the first meeting of a working group for the preparation motion, legislators found that their previous understanding of its functions contravened Legco's rules of procedures. The group was set up to help Lau draft the charges against Kam, but after reading a paper prepared by the Legco secretariat, lawmakers realised it should be the job of the four members bringing and sponsoring the motion. Lau and independent Lam Tai-fai quit the group. Its first meeting ended with no progress because it had to be adjourned for another round of membership enrolment.
(South China Morning Post) Kam's former aide breaks silence
Democratic Party lawmaker Kam Nai-wai's former aide Kimmie Wong Lai-chu yesterday gave her first public account of how her former boss had made advances to her. The statement came six days before the Legislative Council debate on a motion to censure Kam.
Some of Wong's claims were immediately disputed by the party. In response to her "one-sided accusations", Kam said he had paid Wong HK$150,000 compensation after sacking her, and made public a letter of apology he wrote to her after the dismissal.
In a statement issued through her lawyer, Wong said Kam had expressed affection for her in a top restaurant in Central on June 15. "I immediately rejected him and repeatedly expressed my wish to resign," she said. "Kam Nai-wai did not want me to resign, but asked me to rethink our relationship. I had always treated Kam Nai-wai as my supervisor and had never liked him. Since he was a married man, I would not have accepted him."
Wong said Kam had then repeatedly asked to meet her alone but she had rejected all appointments not related to work. To avoid being alone with him she had arranged a summer intern to accompany her. Wong said Kam asked her out for lunch again on September 23, but she declined. "Then in the afternoon he asked to meet me alone in the office," she said. "I refused to close the office door since it was about business."
She was fired two days later.
After she complained to the party about the dismissal, she met party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan and vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing on September 30.
Wong said Ho then pledged that all Democrat legislators would together condemn Kam, a statement disputed by Ho. "It was impossible," he said. "There had not been any investigation and we hadn't even Kam Nai-wai's explanation. How would I promise to condemn him?"
Since accusations against Kam were reported in October, the party has declined to give details of the dismissal, saying it had agreed to keep Wong's complaint confidential. But Wong said yesterday "there was no confidentiality agreement" between her and the party.
Both Ho and Lau said the ex-aide had requested the party keep her case secret. "Is she saying that I was lying?" Ho asked. "Now that she is making her side of the story public, we no longer have a responsibility to keep secrets for her. She has given up her rights."
Kam stopped short of discussing the details in Wong's statement, but repeated that Wong had been dismissed because of mistakes she made in her work. "As a former employer, I don't want to list all the mistakes she made. I'll give details in the Legco investigation," he said.
After laying out her account of the row, Wong, who has refused to help with the Legco probe, wrote at the end of her statement: "With the blessing of Jesus Christ, I am willing to end this incident with a forgiving heart."
Ho urged her to co-operate with the Legco inquiry. "If she just issues a statement, doesn't help with the Legco investigation and wants to put a full-stop to this, this is unfair to the accused," he said.
Legco House Committee chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee said she would table the censure motion on Wednesday as scheduled and would circulate Wong's statement to all lawmakers for their consideration.
(The Standard) No Love Lost. Scarlett Chiang. December 4, 2009.
Kimmie Wong Lai-chu, the political assistant caught in a sexual harassment squabble, has finally broken her silence to talk about what she claims went on with legislator Kam Nai-wai. According to Wong, she was sacked because she spurned advances from the Democratic Party legislator. Wong told her side of the story two weeks after Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor which had been asked by the party to look into the issue to avoid a conflict of interest dropped an investigation because of her failure to testify. She believes in the sanctity of marriage, Wong said, as she explained that she would neither love Kam nor accept his love as he was married and had a daughter. Saying she was breaking her silence in the hope it would end speculation and bring closure to the case, Wong produced a statement with her story.
It read: On June 15, Kam Nai-wai suddenly asked me to talk to him alone outside. In a high-end restaurant in Central, Kam Nai-wai confessed and said he had good feelings toward me. I was very surprised. I immediately rejected him and said several times I would resign. Kam Nai-wai said he did not want me to resign and asked me to go home and to reconsider our relationship. Despite avoiding Kam after the incident, Wong claimed, he kept inviting her to business meetings. On September 24, Kam and other colleagues were having a staff meeting and I was writing a press release. Kam was dissatisfied and asked the staff to meet in another room The next day Kam said he could not work with me and fired me immediately.
Wong said she asked a former employer, Mandy Tam Heung-man, to set up a meeting with Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan and his deputy, Emily Lau Wai-hing. By her telling, they promised at a meeting on September 30 to ask Kam to send her a letter of apology and agreed the sacking had been unreasonable. She said there was no agreement on secrecy and Lau had told her she had the right to handle the incident in my own way, including informing the media. Wongs statement continued: I am serious about love. I strongly believe in eternal love and the life commitment of marriage. From the beginning, I have done only one thing which was to reject my superior Kam Nai-wai, a politician who has a standing under the constitutional system. Besides, he also has a wife and a daughter. She concluded: In the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, I am willing to end this incident with forgiveness. Forgiveness can cure hurt feelings and dissolve disputes. It is also a way for me to ease my burden and to release myself.
But Kam, Ho and Lau responded to Wongs statement by saying her account was only partly true. Kam admitted he had sent Wong a letter of explanation on October 3 but insisted he did not make advances. I must emphasize that I did not fire anyone because of failed advances, Kam added. He also said Wong received HK$150,000 in compensation because he fired her in a fit of bad temper. By Ho's account, Wong stated clearly that she wanted the incident hushed up, though there was no written agreement. I must make it quite clear Ms Wong did make a request that she did not want this incident to become news, Ho said. The three urged Wong to be a witness in a Legislative Council investigation.
Legco is to vote next Wednesday on a motion to censure Kam for misbehavior, making inconsistent remarks to the media and for unfairly dismissing his female assistant after his expression of affection was rejected.
(South China Morning Post) Lawmakers to probe Kam Nai-wai's conduct after rejecting motion to drop inquiry By Albert Wong. December 10, 2009.
Legislators are to launch an investigation into the conduct of Democratic Party lawmaker Kam Nai-wai in sacking his assistant Kimmie Wong.
They took the decision after rejecting a motion calling for the investigation to be dropped and hearing a list of complaints by Kam against Wong - including one that she refused to communicate with him on MSN.
However, doubts about the fairness of the investigation remained, because Wong - who says she was sacked after rejecting Kam's advances - has not said yet that she will help with the inquiry.
The effort by tourism-sector legislator Paul Tse Wai-chun to stop the investigation was supported by directly elected legislators but failed under the split-voting system after it was voted down in the functional constituencies. Moving the motion, Tse said the inquiry was being abused for political motives. It would be impossible to conduct a fair hearing as Wong was unwilling to attend.
Tse said the power to investigate a democratically elected member, with the possibility of evicting him from the legislature, should be used only in the gravest of circumstances, not because of personal grievances.
Many of the pan-democrats who supported Tse's motion said the current process had already exceeded what was envisioned by the Basic Law, because if Kam could be investigated with the possibility of disqualification then the floodgates would open for investigations into a number of trivial matters.
Tse's motion was backed 10-7 in the geographical constituencies but opposed 15-4 in the functional constituencies.
Ahead of the vote, Kam presented a statement to all legislators, detailing his dissatisfaction over Wong's performance in the three months before she was sacked. He also said he had sent her nine e-mails about her performance. They included one saying that her sudden request for a day off ahead of a function she was in charge of would affect the work.
Just two weeks before she was sacked, Kam sent another e-mail asking her to appear online on MSN during office hours so that he could reach her, but she did not do so.
Unionist lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin said it would have been harsh to sack Wong based on the incidents.
He also asked why they were recorded only after Kam had expressed his affection for Wong, souring the working relationship. But he also noted that any accusations of unfair dismissal had been resolved by Kam's payment of HK$150,000 in compensation.
The failure of Tse's motion means that an investigation committee will be set up after further discussion in the House Committee tomorrow. Following the report by this committee, the motion of censure, which charges Kam with unfair dismissal, and "inconsistent remarks" to the media over the circumstances of the dismissal, will be put to a vote.
In October, Kam told the media he had never made advances to Wong but said two days later he had expressed affection for her.
Under Article 79 of the Basic law, the passing of a motion of censure by a two-thirds majority shall result in the disqualification of a lawmaker. However, individual pan-democrats yesterday indicated they were inclined to shun an investigation committee they feared was being abused for political motives. Should the committee be filled with only pro-establishment lawmakers, fears over the impartiality of the investigation may be heightened. The League of Social Democrats, the Civic Party and the Democratic Party have indicated they will not take part in the committee, although they stressed this was not a co-ordinated boycott.
However, House Committee chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee, also the sponsor of the motion of censure, urged representatives from all parties and political groups to take part in the investigation. "If they are so concerned about being fair and impartial, then they should become a member of the committee and ensure it is conducted with due process," she said.
Despite abstaining from supporting Tse, Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said the investigation was not in line with principles of due process for a fair inquiry.
"There will only be a defendant but no plaintiff if she [Wong] keeps refusing to assist the inquiry," he said.
Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee of the Civic Party said: "Even if the charges are proven, they are not so serious as to disqualify a lawmaker."
Lau Kong-wah, deputy chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which opposed suspension of the investigation, said it was unacceptable to jump to conclusions.
Tse said the result was a blow to the integrity of Legco. "I cannot see how this investigation can avoid being perceived as being a political persecution," he said.
In Kam's words
- Wong refused to accompany Kam to meeting with Monetary Authority to help investors who suffered losses
- Kam sent e-mail during European trip criticising Wong for failing to correct mistakes in his work report
- Wong refused to issue press release on licensing shoeshiners in Central when Kam instructed her to do so during European trip
- Wong demanded day off although a tree conservation forum she was responsible for was to be held next day. Kam expressed discontent via e-mail
- Wong did not open MSN messenger at work even though it was a way of communicating in Kam's office
(The Standard) Facing the Music. By Scarlett Chiang and Diana Lee. December 10, 2009.
Legislator Kam Nai-wai is ready to come out fighting after the stage was set yesterday for a no-holds-barred scrap about his alleged unfair dismissal of a female assistant in his office.
The Legislative Council took an unprecedented action with a vote to set up a panel to look into alleged misconduct by Democratic Party member Kam.
He has been accused of sacking political assistant Kimmie Wong Lai-chu because she rejected his advances.
Kam hoped the seven-member committee would conduct an open and fair investigation after a motion to stop the investigation was voted down.
I will try my best to help the committee by providing detailed and true information, said Kam. I also hope Ms Wong will testify.
Wong had been silent about the claimed advances her side of the story was pushed by third parties until last Friday. That was when she appeared with a long statement containing claims about Wong propositioning her and how she was fired when she turned him down.
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor had dropped an investigation sought by the Democratic Party two weeks earlier because Wong failed to testify.
Yesterday, Kam said he will submit at least 10 e-mails between him and Wong to show her dismissal had nothing to do with his supposed affection. He will also reveal some SMS messages from Wong at a later stage.
In a letter to legislators, Kam briefly ran through the e-mails, which suggested Wong refused to attend a meeting with him, would not write press releases at his
request, and that she did not even log on to MSN Messenger in August and September when he was using it to communicate with staff. The earliest of the 10 e-mails was dated June 18. According to Wong, that was three days after Kam had told her he had feelings for her.
Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said his reading of the e-mails was that many things have happened since June and that Kam did not sack Wong because of any rejection.
But, Ho added, the e-mails did not show a justification for Kam sacking with immediate effect on September 25. Kam should have at least given her a written warning before her dismissal.
The motion to halt the investigation was moved by independent Paul Tse Wai-chun, who represents the tourism sector. He said it is an abuse of Legcos powers and a waste of taxpayer money.
The investigation committee did not have a right to summon witnesses and to conduct cross-examinations, he added, and there is no clear definition of misconduct. If the investigation is started, it will be a very bad precedent.
Kam, who is married and has a daughter, could lose his seat if legislators censure him.
Tse also chided the Democratic Party, accusing it of trying to obtain the moral high ground by abstaining on the motion.
The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and Liberal Party voted against Tses move to halt the probe.
Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee of the Civic Party also said the investigation should be dropped because the accusation was not serious enough to disqualify a legislator.
If a legislator is proven to have littered, will you disqualify him? Ng asked.
But Lau Kong-wah, vice president of the DAB, said it was unfair to talk about an outcome before the panel began its work. And the Liberal Partys Miriam Lau Kin-yee said Legcos House Committee had voted to start the investigation and so legislators should allow it to proceed.
Legislators Sophie Leung Lau Yau- fun, Lam Tai-fai, Lau Kong-wah and Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, all members of the pro-Beijing camp, have expressed an interest in being on the inquiry panel.
Kam Nai-wai's record of supervising the work of Kimmie Wong:
- On June 18, Kimmie Wong refused to accompany Kam Nai-wai to attend a meeting on mini-bonds
- On June 22, Kam Nai-wai sent an email to Kimmie Wong asking for attention to work
- On August 10, Kam Nai-wai sent an email from Europe to ask for a timely revision of the many errors in <Kam Nai-wai's Work Report>
- On August 13, Kam Nai-wai called Kimmie Wong from Europe at 5pm HKT to ask her about the latest progress of the press release on affair over the cobblers in Central, but Kimmie refused. Kam then sent an email to Kimmie Wong to remind her that writing press releases is her basic duty.
- On August 25, Kam Nai-wai sent an email to Kimmie Wong to ask for promotion on the Tree Forum.
- On August 27, Kimmie Wong suddenly asked for a day on August 28. Since the Tree Forum was to be held the next day, Kam Nai-wai sent her an email to tell her that an unscheduled day off will affect work.
- On August 28, Kam Nai-wai send an email to Kimmie Wong about his dissatisfaction with her promotion of the Tree Forum.
- On September 11, Kam Nai-wai send her email to tell her to stay on MSN Messenger during office hours in order to stay in contact with other workers. Kimmie Wong had not been doing so in August and September.
- On September 20, Kam Nai-wai was dissatisfied with the progress of the Air Pollution Forum that Kimmie Wong was in chrage of. Kam sent email to four workers to hold a meeting.
According to the previously released open letter from Kimmie Wong, Kam Nai-wai first expressed his love for her on June 15. This record of work supervision was dated after that.