Elsie Leung

Elsie Leung Oi-sie, GBM, JP (Chinese: 梁愛詩; born 24 April 1939) is a Hong Kong politician and solicitor. She was Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong from 1997 to 2005 and a member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong.

Elsie Leung Oi-sie
Elsie Leung.jpg
1st Secretary for Justice of Hong Kong
In office
1 July 1997 – 20 October 2005
Preceded byJeremy Fell Mathews (Attorney General of Hong Kong)
Succeeded byWong Yan-Lung
Personal details
Born (1939-04-24) 24 April 1939 (age 82)
British Hong Kong
NationalityHong Kong
Political partyDemocratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (1992-1997)
ResidenceHong Kong
Alma materUniversity of Hong Kong
Elsie Leung
Traditional Chinese梁愛詩
Simplified Chinese梁爱诗

Early life and educationEdit

Leung was born in Hong Kong to a family originating from Nanhai region, Foshan, China. She was educated in Hong Kong, at Chung Wah Middle School (a leftist school shut down by the government),[1] Sacred Heart Canossian College (formerly known as Italian Convent School and Sacred Heart School) and the University of Hong Kong. Leung passed her Law Society Qualifying Examinations in 1967 and obtained her LLM degree from the University of Hong Kong in 1988. She is a past President of the International Federation of Women Lawyers.[2]

Legal careerEdit

Elsie Leung qualified as a solicitor in 1967[3]: 135  and entered practice a year later. She was a partner at local law firms P. H. Sin & Co. and Iu, Lai & Li Solicitors, specialising in matrimonial law.[3]: 135  She served on various government boards and committees, including the Independent Police Complaints Council, Equal Opportunities Commission, Social Welfare Advisory Committee and Inland Revenue Board of Review. She was also honorary legal adviser to many non-governmental organisations.[citation needed]

Political careerEdit

Leung was a founding member of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB). She was appointed as a Delegate of the People's Congress of Guangdong in 1989. In 1993, she was appointed as a Delegate of the 8th National People's Congress as well as a Hong Kong Affairs Adviser. In the period leading up to the handover, Leung advised the Chief Executive Designate of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on legal matters relating to the establishment of the HKSAR.

Secretary for JusticeEdit

On 1 July 1997, Leung became the first Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, replacing Attorney General Jeremy Mathews. She was the Chief Executive's chief legal adviser and an ex officio member of the Executive Council. She headed the Department of Justice which has a staff of over 1,000, of whom about 290 are lawyers.

She is currently the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, the Committee on Bilingual Legal System, the Legal Practitioners' Liaison Committee and serves on numerous committees, including the Fight Crime Committee and the Operations Review Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Leung was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal in July 2002 for her "distinguished public service", and for her "significant contributions in ensuring the successful implementation of the new constitutional order under the One country, two systems concept". She retired from office in October 2005.

Controversies and viewsEdit

Leung was involved in controversy in 1999 when, as Secretary for Justice, she refused to prosecute Sally Aw over the circulation fraud at The Standard. The Hong Kong Bar Association accused her of being "careless" in her handling of the case for failing to ensure that justice was seen to be done.[4] The Democratic Party and the Liberal Party[5] backed legal-sector legislator Margaret Ng's motion of no-confidence. However, during the Legislative Council vote, the Liberal Party objected to government lobbying. It accused the Tung administration of applying "back door" pressure on them to support Leung. The Liberals abstained in the vote, and party deputy chairman Ronald Arculli staged a walk-out.[6]

The Hong Kong government[who?] however expressed full confidence in Leung, saying that in all the above cases she had acted entirely in accordance with the Basic Law and the prosecution policy of the Department of Justice.[7]

In March 2021, after Beijing announced changes to restrict the influence of district councillors as well as filtering potential Legislative Council members through the election committee, Leung claimed that Hong Kong could still move towards democracy after things "return to the right track."[8] In April 2021, Leung claimed that moves to ensure only "patriots" serve in the government did not go against the principles of having a "high degree of autonomy," and claimed that such changes were not designed for "taking steps back" in democratic progress.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wong, Hok-Wui, Stan (2015). Electoral Politics in Post-1997 Hong Kong: Protest, Patronage, and the Media. Singapore: Springer. p. 100. ISBN 9789812873866.
  2. ^ Sacred Heart Canossian College Alumnae Archived 17 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Growing with Hong Kong: The University and Its Graduates: The First 90 Years. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. 2002.
  4. ^ Cliff Buddle (6 March 1999). "Bar takes swipe at Justice Secretary". The Standard. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  5. ^ Cheung Chi-fai (7 February 1999). "Clamour grows for Leung to resign". The Standard. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  6. ^ Chris Yeung (17 March 1999). "Liberal leader aghast at way Tung's team solicited votes". The Standard. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  7. ^ Mandy Luk (8 March 1999). "Rights call to remove Leung". The Standard. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  8. ^ "HK can still move towards democracy: Elsie Leung - RTHK". news.rthk.hk. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Hong Kong election reforms could spark public backlash, warns top adviser". South China Morning Post. 20 March 2021. Retrieved 22 April 2021.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by

as Attorney General of Hong Kong
Secretary for Justice
Succeeded by
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Li Ka-shing
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Succeeded by
David Akers-Jones
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal