The man tipped to be Hong Kong's next Chief Executive, Henry Tang, has tearfully blamed his wife, after an illegally-built basement found at their house prompted a media frenzy.
AFP says local tabloids described the basement as a 2,000 foot 'underground palace' with a theater, a gym, a Japanese-style bath and a wine cellar.
On Thursday, shortly after rumours of the basement surfaced, journalists and protesters descended on the civil servant's home, BBC's China correspondant reported.
Bloomberg describes a chaotic scene, with photographers and cameramen using cranes to capture pictures of the basement through a glass-bottomed swimming pool.
On Friday, Tang (59) convened a press conference, and announced he would not be withdrawing his candidacy over the scandal.
"I apologise to all Hong Kong people," he reportedly said. "It was my wife's idea and I knew they were illegal. Since we were experiencing a low ebb in our marriage...I did not handle the matter swiftly. I take full responsibility for the incident."
His wife of 27 years, Lisa Kuo Yu-chin, also addressed reporters, with the Hong Kong's Standard saying she 'spilled tears of regret', explaining that she had wanted to provide a comfortable living environment for her family.
"I have never imagined that the building work would cause such adverse impacts, and I deeply regret what has happened," she is quoted as saying.
The Wall Street Journal said that Hong Kong’s pro-business and Beijing-friendly Liberal Party was reconsidering its backing for Tang amid this “credibility issue.”