Conflicts of interest undermine ISS-HK’s credibility

Post Date: Jun 8th, 2014 | Categories: Advocacy | COMMENT

Following this article, Alex Lo commented in the South China Morning Post, “It has long been an open secret that the government-friendly DAB often coordinates with officials about to appear in the legislative to face lawmakers’ grilling. But it often goes beyond that, such as proposing questions and answers to help the government get its message across …”

It is worth repeating that International Social Service (ISS-HK) are directly connected to the government through Mrs. Regina Leung, wife of the Hong Kong Chief Executive, and Mr. Tam Yiu Chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).

ISS-HK is obviously not in a position to safeguard the rights and interests of refugees.

Vision First urges the patron and board members of ISS-HK that have government interest to immediately resign from ISS-HK as clearly there exists both conflict of interest and bias.

Patron Mrs. Regina Leung evidently does not oppose and cannot be seen to oppose Hong Kong Government policies and practices towards refugees. Mrs Lung is conflicted as a patron and leaves ISS-HK as a complete extension of the Hong Kong Government with no independent views.

Director Mr. Tam Yiu Chung has a clear conflict of interest with his party DAB colluding with the Hong Kong Government to manipulate lawmakers’ views on the refugee community. Manifestly Mr. Tam should not be on the board of ISS-HK as his party’s interests are adverse to those of asylum seekers and he is in no way independent from government policies and practices.

Mr. Tam works with the Security Bureau and the wife of the Hong Kong Chief Executive and thus has apparent bias in favour of government policies. This situation is completely unethical and such serious conflict of interests undermine any credibility the ISS-HK board has and the credibility of ISS-HK.

Further, Mr. Tam is the Legislative Council representative for the geographical constituency of New Territories West. This jurisdiction is the region in which landlords and agents have contracted with ISS-HK to put asylum seekers in illegal structures developed into refugee slums.

For eight years, since refugee welfare services started in 2006, ISS-HK’s questionable housing policies brought, and continue to bring, great financial benefits to the voting base and constituency of legislator Mr. Tam Yiu Chung. Time will tell whether this is just a coincidence.

Mr Tam Yiu Chun should clarify his position and resign as director of ISS-HK.