Donald Tsang's misconduct hearing delayed

The misconduct hearing of the former chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been delayed for five weeks.

On Friday, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen appeared in Eastern Magistrates' Court for the second time for a preliminary hearing.

His lawyer requested the next hearing be set for Dec 18, saying the legal team needed more time to deal with the prosecution's documentation.

The Department of Justice dropped two people from the list of witnesses, while bringing in four new ones. The change enlarged the group of witnesses to 26 people. Defence attorneys said they needed time to evaluate them all.

Tsang did not speak in court and refused to answer questions from the more than 50 reporters waiting outside. He was accompanied by his wife, Selina Tsang Pou Siumei.

The police deployed dozens of officers to maintain order and erected barricades to create a restricted zone.

On Oct 5, the Independent Commission Against Corruption charged Tsang, 71, with two counts of misconduct while in public office. The charges relate to his rental of a three-story penthouse in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

He is Hong Kong's highest ranking official ever to be prosecuted.

It is alleged that between Nov 2, 2010 and Jan 20, 2012, Tsang, without reasonable excuse, failed to inform the Executive Council that he was in discussions with Bill Wong Chor-bau, a major shareholder of Wave Media, to lease the penthouse at Shenzhen's East Pacific Garden.

Later, he approved applications by Wong's company - later renamed DBC - for a broadcasting license.

Tsang also failed to disclose a sum of 800,000 yuan (S$179,000) his wife paid to another company where Wong was a shareholder in November 2010, the court heard earlier.

The second charge accuses Tsang of suggesting that interior designer Barrie Ho Chow-lai be nominated under the city's honors and awards system between December 2010 and July 2011.

Tsang allegedly failed to reveal at the time that Ho was tasked with his flat's design, the court heard earlier.