Top Hong Kong official resigns over birthday party fiasco

Top Hong Kong official resigns over birthday party fiasco

A top Hong Kong official resigned on Monday to attend a birthday party with nearly 200 guests in early January as the city grapples with a coronavirus surge. Later at least one guest tested positive. Home Affairs Secretary Kasper Tsui was among several officials and lawmakers ordered to quarantine after the party, which was held for Representative Wittman Hung, of China’s legislature.

Tsui said in a statement released Monday afternoon that he “did not set the best example during the recent outbreak.” His resignation came after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam rebuked officials who had joined the party, saying they “should know better”. At the time of the gathering, health officials had urged the public to avoid large gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus. “I made the wrong decision to attend a banquet on January 3 and behaved inappropriately when all efforts should have been devoted to controlling the spread of the virus,” Tsui said. “I will take responsibility for my actions, and therefore I have decided to resign as Secretary of Home Affairs.”

Tsui’s announcement came hours before a press conference by Lam, who announced the results of a disciplinary investigation into officials who had joined the party. “His conduct has discredited the Hong Kong government, and he and his actions have created negative perceptions by the general public regarding the conduct of key officials,” Lam said. Officials said Tsui did not use the government contact tracing app, which is mandated under coronavirus rules, when entering the restaurant. He also failed to wear a mask while talking to people, despite rules that do not provide for wearing a mask when eating or drinking.

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Source: WHO/Johns Hopkins

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