Hong Kong's top health executive has resigned after strong criticism for his handling of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome last year that killed nearly 300 people.

Health Secretary Yeoh Eng-kiong resigned just days after Hong Kong's legislature released a report critical of the health department's slow response to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS last year.

The report said Mr. Yeoh and other officials confused and misled the public about the disease.

Hong Kong's leader Tung Chee-hwa announced the resignation late Wednesday.

Mr. Tung said that Mr. Yeoh improved Hong Kong's health system during its biggest health crisis.

Earlier this week, Mr. Yeoh publicly apologized to SARS victims and their families. SARS killed nearly 300 people in Hong Kong and sickened more than 1700.