Top Hong Kong official steps down after flouting COVID-19 rules

Tsui resigns as home secretary after attending birthday bash as country was imposing strict social-distancing rules.

Top Hong Kong official steps down after flouting COVID-19 rules

Hong Kong's home secretary stepped down on Monday, saying he “failed to lead by example” in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As one of the principal officials taking the lead in the anti-epidemic fight, I have not set the best example during the recent outbreak. I made the wrong decision to attend a banquet on Jan. 3 and behaved in an inappropriate manner when all efforts should have been devoted to controlling the spread of the virus,” Tsui Ying-wai said, adding: “I have tendered my resignation."

Tsui's decision came after it was revealed that he was one of many officials and lawmakers who attended a birthday party of Witman Hung, a Hong Kong deputy to China's National People's Congress, earlier this month.

More than 200 people had attended the party at a time when the country was imposing strict social-distancing rules amid rising cases of the omicron variant.

Tsui and others were quarantined after a guest at the party was found to be infected with the coronavirus.

"I should blame myself for my own fault," Tsui stated.

He is the sixth minister to resign from Carrie Lam's government since she took over as chief executive.

Last week, Lam had asked Tsui “not to return to work until a disciplinary investigation was completed into his attendance at the party.”

She is scheduled to release the investigation's report later in the day.

The former interior secretary joined the regional government in 2008 as a political assistant to the home secretary.

In August 2017, he was promoted to the position of undersecretary for Labor and Welfare. He was appointed to lead the region's Home Affairs Bureau in 2020.