Jailed former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang Yam-kuen will regain his freedom next Tuesday after serving a 12-month jail term, various sources have told the Post.
The city’s chief executive from 2005 to 2012 – who was jailed for misconduct in public office – will also get his bodyguards back as soon as he steps outside prison on January 15, a source familiar with the arrangements said.
“Bodyguards will have to arrive at Stanley Prison on Tuesday morning to receive Tsang,” a police insider said.
“All the personal protection, transport services and other welfare will resume as he walks out.”
Tsang, who managed to reduce his sentence from 20 months to 12 on appeal, has spent less than a year in jail. He will be released early because his term was further reduced after his holidays were deducted and the Correctional Services Department considered his good behaviour.
The career civil servant fell from grace in February 2017, when he was found guilty of a misconduct charge over a lease he failed to disclose while city leader.
The deal – over a luxury penthouse in Shenzhen, mainland China – created a conflict of interest, prosecutors successfully argued, because local radio boss Bill Wong Cho-bau owned the property indirectly, and Tsang was in charge of granting Wong’s Wave Media various licences at the time.
He served some of his sentence immediately after the conviction in February 2017, before he was allowed out on bail two months later pending an appeal.
But, the 74-year-old was back inside in July last year, when the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal, although they reduced his original sentence by eight months.
The Court of Final Appeal gave its approval for him to launch his last appeal in January. It will be heard on May 14.
When Tsang was released on bail by the appeal court in 2017, he was immediately surrounded by his bodyguards.
Some have questioned whether the privilege provided to former chief executives is one Tsang should keep, if he fails to overturn his conviction.
A spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau earlier said: “If any individual former chief executive cannot perform the promotional and protocol-related functions … the government will redeploy the relevant resources for other appropriate usage during the period.”
Over the past two years, Tsang has faced two trials, during which he was acquitted of one corruption charge, while two different juries failed to reach a verdict on a second corruption charge.