HK legislator Kam admits to 'fondness' for assistant

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Beleaguered legislator Kam Nai-wai declares he will not resign over an alleged sexual scandal involving a female assistant.

He admitted he abruptly fired her, although during a phone-in radio program he said that he was "fond of" the woman.

The Democratic Party lawmaker insisted he did not "express his love" for the assistant, did not court her, and did not send her flowers. He said the assistant declined to attend a meeting, so he fired her, which prompted her complaint to the Democratic Party.

Since the scandal broke over the weekend, Kam has steadfastly refused to admit that any emotional entanglements were involved in the termination of his former assistant.

During the radio phone-in program, Kam revealed that he has had difficulties in his marital relationship with his wife, and he apologized to her and to his former assistant. Kam said he has told the truth about the affair and that he hopes people will give him a chance.

The Legislative Council (LegCo) has received an official complaint over the matter, which was initially handled internally by the Democratic Party. But that process has been widely criticized for lacking transparency. Some party members were now calling for an independent inquiry. Kam has been absent from LegCo meetings since the scandal broke out.

Earlier, former legislator Mandy Tam Heung-man denied it was she who leaked the identity of the woman involved in the alleged sex scandal.

Speaking to Cable Television by telephone, Tam said reporters guessed the name of Wang Lai-chu, who allegedly was fired by Kam after she rejected his sexual advances.

"Reporters called to ask if it was she. What can I say? Deny it? Can I lie and say it's not her?" she said.

The saga of the 49-year-old married legislator and the attractive former political aide has became the talk of the town since it was reported over the weekend. Tam, a former employer and a friend of Wong's, has proven an important source of information. That has brought her under criticism, some charging Tam caused more hurt to the victim than the alleged sexual harassment.

Tam admitted that Wong had asked her to stop talking to media on Monday. She felt obligated to defend the young woman against "smear" attempts, Tam said.

Some newspapers quoting unnamed sources as saying Wong had mistaken Kam's efforts to comfort her during a painful breakup to be sexual advances.

Tam again insisted she was not politically motivated in exposing the scandal. "I'm not trying to gain publicity or keep myself in the media spotlight. I will not run for election," she said, before hurriedly adding, "in Hong Kong Island (geographical constituency)".

Now independent, Tam is a former member of the Civic Party. She was elected to the legislator for the Accountancy Functional Constituency in 2004 by a thin margin, but was defeated four years later.

Wong, a former ATV anchor, had worked for Tam when Tam ran for the Legislative Council (LegCo) seat. Tam helped Wong to acquire the political aide's post in Kam's office after Tam's defeat.

Tam said Kam expressed affection for Wong on at least two occasions. She said that Wong, a devout Christian, rejected the married man's advances.

Wong was fired September 24. Wong had complained to the Democratic Party and the Equal Opportunity Commission without apparent effect.

The Democratic Party refused further comment pending its Central Committee meeting on Thursday.

Public complaints had been made to the Legislative Council and the Equal Opportunity Committee.

Chan Mo-po, a member of LegCo's Committee on Member's Interests, said the incident can be investigated by his committee or an independent committee if that approach is deemed to be more appropriate.

The Equal Opportunity Committee said it does not comment on individual cases.

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