The former director of Macau’s Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau, Fong Soi Kun, has had his pension payments suspended for four years as part of aggravated punishments handed down by Chief Executive Chui Sai On this week following the devastating Typhoon Hato that struck the city last August.
Chui revealed on Wednesday that he had decided to hand down retrospective punishments to Fong and his former deputy director for their role in failing to issue adequate storm warnings in the days and hours before Typhoon Hato Struck.
A Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) investigation into the typhoon forecasting procedures of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau last year found “serious problems” with the Bureau’s internal mechanisms, including the revelation that storm warnings were often decided by Fong alone. The Bureau was also accused of failing to issue a storm warning due to concerns over its potential impact on the city’s gaming industry.
Fong was sacked just 24 hours after Typhoon Hato hit.
His latest punishment included retrospective dismissal from his post, however given that he was already fired, the applicable penalty has been substituted by a four-year suspension of pension payments. The deputy director, who stepped down from his management role after Typhoon Hato and is now a staff member of the Bureau, has been handed a 130-day suspension from all duties.
In a statement, the government said that, “No further disciplinary actions against the two persons would be conducted under relevant regulations and laws. This was because their acts of misconduct associated with the period of Typhoon Hato had already been reviewed in the special investigation.”
Ten people lost their lives when Typhoon Hato struck on 23 August 2017.
According to the government’s Commission for Reviewing and Monitoring the Improvements of the Response Mechanism to Major Disasters, established last September, Typhoon Hato also caused at least MOP$11.5 billion worth of damage to Macau, including major disruptions to the city’s gaming industry and months of delays for MGM China in opening its MGM Cotai integrated resort.