North district rematch will end differently, democrat believes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2007, 12:00am

North District residents are witnessing a direct rematch in two of the constituencies where candidates fought closely contested battles in 2003.

But those who lost last time feel this time they have a good chance of closing in on their opponents, if not overtaking them.

In the Yan Shing constituency, Adrian Lau Tak-cheong, of the Independent Democrats, beat Lau Kwok-fan of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong by 2,210 to 1,930 in the last elections.

They are once again the only candidates this time around.

Mr Lau, a full-time community worker, said he was more confident this time: 'However, he's been the district councillor for four years now and has that advantage. We cannot be complacent.'

For Mr Lau, losing last time made him determined to work harder.

'The very next day I held my head up high and went straight back to work, visiting residents and helping address the community's problems. I think citizens realise now what it takes to be a district councillor - and that means it's a full-time job,' he said, alluding to his opponent's other job in information technology.

The Democratic Party's Sham Wing-kan beat his current opponent, the DAB's Warwick Wan Wo-tat, by a healthier margin in 2003, with 2,342 votes to Mr Wan's 1,176.

While Mr Sham said he was confident of a big win, he said he would be happy to merely hold on to his seat: 'Winning by one vote is still a win.'

Mr Wan recognised he had to make up quite a few votes, but was encouraged by his support so far.

Choi Yuen residents, on the other hand, have been robbed by a technicality of a rematch of one of the closest races from the 2003 elections, when DAB member So Sai-chi beat the Democratic Party's Wong Sing-chi by a mere 100 votes.

Due to a redrawing of electoral boundaries, some of Mr Wong's traditional supporters now fall in the Shek Wu Hui constituency. But instead of feeling his support has been eroded, the Democratic Party has gambled on enough support to secure both the Choi Yuen and Shek Wu Hui constituencies.

Mr Wong will now contest the Shek Wu Hui constituency, where the incumbent councillor is not running for another term, while in Choi Yuen, 25-year-old rookie candidate Hung Ming-lun will take up the Democratic Party's baton and try to make up the 100 votes lacking in 2003.

Mr Wong said he was confident that Mr Hung could unseat current DAB councillor So Sai-chi.

'He's much harder working than me, and the local residents have known about him for some time now,' Mr Wong said.

Mr So admitted he was 'a little worried', since despite the inexperience of his challenger, the Democratic Party had quite a strong base of support in his area.

'I hope the residents will trust someone who has been here all the time and knows the community, and not someone who has just arrived for the elections,' he said.

Judging by how residents voted in Legislative Council elections, Mr Wong said he was also confident that he was assured a certain amount of support from the Shek Wu Hui constituency and hoped to take this seat.

The incumbent, Chan Hing-fuk, was a Democratic Party member in 2003, but later quit the party.