Favorite to lead Hong Kong, Henry Tang, blames wife in underground palace scandal

The man tipped to be Hong Kong's next Chief Executive, Henry Tang, has tearfully blamed his wife, after an illegally-built basement found at their house prompted a media frenzy.

AFP says local tabloids described the basement as a 2,000 foot 'underground palace' with a theater, a gym, a Japanese-style bath and a wine cellar.

On Thursday, shortly after rumours of the basement surfaced, journalists and protesters descended on the civil servant's home, BBC's China correspondant reported.

Bloomberg describes a chaotic scene, with photographers and cameramen using cranes to capture pictures of the basement through a glass-bottomed swimming pool.

On Friday, Tang (59) convened a press conference, and announced he would not be withdrawing his candidacy over the scandal.

"I apologise to all Hong Kong people," he reportedly said.  "It was my wife's idea and I knew they were illegal. Since we were experiencing a low ebb in our marriage…I did not handle the matter swiftly. I take full responsibility for the incident."

His wife of 27 years, Lisa Kuo Yu-chin, also addressed reporters, with the Hong Kong's Standard saying she 'spilled tears of regret', explaining that she had wanted to provide a comfortable living environment for her family. 

"I have never imagined that the building work would cause such adverse impacts, and I deeply regret what has happened," she is quoted as saying.

The Wall Street Journal said that Hong Kong’s pro-business and Beijing-friendly Liberal Party was reconsidering its backing for Tang amid this “credibility issue.”


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