Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Wednesday after a high-profile corruption trial found him guilty of misconduct during his time at the helm of the city.
Tsang, 72, who held the leadership post of chief executive for seven years from 2005, is the most senior city official ever to be convicted in a criminal trial and the highest ranking one to be put behind bars.
The six-week trial at the High Court came as residents lose faith in Hong Kong’s leaders after a string of corruption cases fuel suspicions over links between public officials and business figures.
Tsang was found guilty on Friday for failing to disclose his plans to lease a luxury flat from a major investor in a broadcaster, which was later granted a licence from the government while he was leader.
“Never in my judicial career have I seen a man fallen from so high,” judge Andrew Chan said in delivering the sentence.
Tsang’s four decades of service to Hong Kong was “indisputable”, but his breach of trust was “significant”, Chan told the court packed with reporters and Tsang’s relatives.
He “deliberately concealed” his dealing and negotiations, the judge said.
The former leader was photographed wearing his trademark bow tie and hand restraints as he was escorted to a prison van ahead of the hearing.
In 2012, he apologised over separate allegations that he had accepted inappropriate gifts from business friends in the form of trips on luxury yachts and private jets.
His former deputy Rafael Hui was jailed for seven-and-a-half years in 2014 after being found guilty of taking bribes from Hong Kong property tycoon Thomas Kwok.
Judge Andrew Chan on Monday said he was going to sentence Donald Tsang to 30 months in jail but took off 10 months because of his good character and contribution to Hong Kong.
Tsang was found guilty last week of one count of misconduct in office and not guilty on a second count.