Deputy weather chief to resign

Florence Leong (left) and Fong Soi Kun (center) pictured during a press conference

The deputy director of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) will step down from her post starting next month, just half a year after her former boss Fong Soi Kun resigned in the wake of devastating Typhoon Hato.

The resignation was announced yesterday in the Official Gazette. According to the publication, incumbent SMG director Raymond Tam approved a request by deputy director Florence Leong to step down. No reason was provided for her resignation.

Leong will now return to her previous post as a senior technician at the bureau.

However, she will still face disciplinary proceedings regarding her handling of Typhoon Hato, possibly even relating to rumors that her superstitious beliefs influenced her decision-making.

The Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) issued a report in October on the SMG’s handling of  the Hato disaster and found that malpractice had been involved.

The report mentioned rumors that Leong’s superstitious beliefs had played a role in the bureau’s decision-making. “According to the personnel the CCAC got in touch with, the rumors were widely circulated in the bureau and everyone [had] heard of them,” it stated.

The Commission concluded that there is no evidence that other SMG staff (besides Fong and Leong) neglected their duties.

A new deputy director to replace Leong has not been named.

The resignation of former SMG director Fong Soi Kun was announced by the Chief Executive the day after Hato struck the city in late-August. It came in response to criticism from residents and lawmakers who criticized the SMG’s failure to raise typhoon signals to an appropriate level.

Several other irregularities at the bureau were discovered over the course of an investigation that followed.

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