Michael Sze

Michael Sze

Secretary for Constitutional Affairs
In office
30 October 1991 – 27 January 1994
GovernorSir David Wilson
Chris Patten
Preceded byMichael Suen
Succeeded byNicholas Ng
Secretary for the Civil Service
In office
28 January 1994 – 1996
GovernorChris Patten
Preceded byAnson Chan
Succeeded byLam Woon-kwong
Executive Director of the Trade Development Council
In office
Succeeded byFred Lam
Personal details
Born (1945-06-23) 23 June 1945 (age 74)
Republic of China
Alma materLa Salle College
University of Hong Kong

Michael Sze Cho-cheung, GBS, CBE, ISO, JP (Chinese: 施祖祥; born 23 June 1945) is a former Hong Kong government official. He has held various government positions including Secretary for Constitutional Affairs from 1991 to 1994 and Secretary for the Civil Service from 1994 to 1996. He was Executive Director of the Trade Development Council (DTC) from 1996 to 2004 and chairman of the Operations Review Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) until 2014.

Government career[]

He was born in Mainland China. He moved to Hong Kong and was educated at the La Salle College and the University of Hong Kong. He joined the Hong Kong government and had served in various bureaux and departments, including Home Affairs Department, Chief Secretariat, Trade Department, Marine Department and Constitutional Affairs Department. During his tenure of District Officer of Kowloon, he proposed compensation to the shoppers who were affected by the construction of the Mass Transit Railway on Nathan Road.

He was appointed Secretary for Constitutional Affairs in 1991. During his service, he was responsible for promoting the constitutional reform package of the last Governor Chris Patten. Despite Patten's constitutional reform package was strongly opposed by the Beijing government, Sze defended the package and therefore was criticised by the Beijing authorities. He was appointed Secretary for the Civil Service in 1994. At the time expatriate civil servants could renew their contracts automatically, which was deemed as unfair to the Chinese civil servants. He abolished the system and implemented the localisation of the civil service on the eve of the handover.[1] From 1992 to 1996, he was a member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong. He announced his retirement from the civil service in 1996, right before the handover.[2]

Later career[]

After retiring from the government, Sze served as Executive Director of the Trade Development Council (DTC) from 1996 to 2004, the statutory organisation responsible for promoting and developing Hong Kong's external trade. During the SARS epidemic, he strengthened the sanitary measures in the July exhibition. He also abolished the pegged salaries of the staffs in DTC with the civil servants.[1]

He had also been chairman of the Operations Review Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). At the time many high officials were involved in corruption cases, including Chief Secretary for Administration Rafael Hui, Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Timothy Tong and Chief Executives Donald Tsang and Leung Chun-ying. Sze ensured the public the ICAC would investigate all cases. Responding to Leung Chun-ying's comment on ICAC not apologising to the members of Executive Council, Franklin Lam and Barry Cheung after it found no evidence in their allegations, Sze said that "even indiscriminate complaints are better than [the public] making no complaints." He was criticised by another Leung's ally, Executive Council member Cheung Chi-kong, accusing Sze of "encouraging" indiscriminate complaints to the ICAC and expressed worries that the agency would be overloaded with cases.[3] He served on the committee until he retired and was replaced by Maria Tam in 2014, which was seen as a controversial pick by Leung Chun-ying.

Sze has also held directorships in various companies, including the Lee Kum Kee Company, Swire Pacific Limited, Yangtzekiang Carment Limited and YGM Trading Limited.


He has a brother, Sze Cho-sing who is an owner of a seafood trading company.[4] Sze has a daughter named Karen, who is a psychiatrist.


For his public services, Sze was awarded Imperial Service Order (ISO) and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1990 and 1995 respectively. In 1997, he was appointed a non-official Justice of the Peace. In 2004, he was awarded Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by the Emperor of Japan for his effort in promoting Hong Kong-Japan trade development and Gold Bauhinia Star (GBS) by the Hong Kong government.[5]

See also[]


  1. ^ a b 施祖祥 (PDF). Polytechnic University of Hong Kong.
  2. ^ 香港評論, 1997. Chinese University Press. 1997. pp. 76–7.
  3. ^ "The graft-buster and a string of headline grabbers". South China Morning Post. 24 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Appeal for Sze to be left alone". South China Morning Post. 6 December 1995.
  5. ^ "Michael Sze". Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Government offices
Preceded by
Michael Suen
Secretary for Constitutional Affairs
Succeeded by
Nicholas Ng
Preceded by
Anson Chan
Secretary for the Civil Service
Succeeded by
Lam Woon-kwong