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Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang has been sentenced to 20 months imprisonment after he was convicted of misconduct in public office on Friday.

Tsang, who was chief executive of the Chinese territory from 2005 to 2012, is the most high-profile politician to be jailed for misconduct in Hong Kong, writes Ben Bland.

He was found guilty of failing to disclose that he was negotiating the lease of a luxury apartment in Shenzhen, a neighbouring Chinese city, from a businessman whose company was awarded a broadcasting licence.

The judge, Justice Andrew Chan, said on Wednesday morning that the chief executive “must be a person of integrity” and that Tsang had breached “the trust placed in him by the people of Hong Kong and the people of China”.

Tsang also faces a retrial after the jury last week failed to reach a majority verdict on one count of “accepting an advantage”.

His fall from grace once again highlights the political difficulties facing Hong Kong, which is in the process of selecting its next chief executive.

All three of Hong Kong’s leaders since it was handed back to Chinese control in 1997 have seen their careers end badly.

Tsang’s predecessor Tung Chee-hwa, the territory’s first post-handover chief executive, resigned in 2005 after his leadership was criticised in Hong Kong and Beijing.

CY Leung, the current chief executive, unexpectedly announced last year that he would not seek a second term, after presiding over a period of profound political divisions.

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