DAB sets sights on legal sector
Fanny W. Y. Fung and Gary Cheung
A Beijing-friendly party may contest the Legislative Council legal functional constituency in September's election, despite long-standing dominance of the sector by pan-democratic forces.
Solicitor Christopher Wong Kwok-yan, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong's deputy spokesman on administration of justice and legal services, said he was considering running for the seat.
'Of course we want to win, but the most important thing is publicity. The DAB's participation can demonstrate it is a cross-stratum party which concerns professional sectors,' the 43-year-old lawyer said.
Mr Wong conceded that being a candidate with a party background and his position as a solicitor could put him at a disadvantage, since the legal sector favoured political neutrality and barristers were traditionally seen as being more independent.
He also believed that the incumbent, Civic Party legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, who has held the seat since 1995 except in 1997-98 when the provisional legislative council operated, would be 'a very strong opponent' if she ran again.
But he said that whether Ms Ng sought re-election would not affect his party's decision.
'At the present stage of the DAB's development, we have been recruiting professionals from various sectors. The number of members who are lawyers has grown substantially in recent years. I believe fielding a candidate in the constituency can help publicise the party among lawyers,' he said.
Ms Ng could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mr Wong was appointed a Wong Tai Sin district councillor last year and is also a member of the Independent Police Complaints Council. He runs a law firm as a sole proprietor.
Another solicitor, Felix Fong Wo, a DAB standing committee member and a consultant at Arculli, Fong & Ng, has also been approached for a candidacy.
Mr Fong said some senior members of the party had suggested he run and he had been interested but had decided not to stand because of opposition from his family.
The legal functional constituency has been a stronghold of the pan-democrats. The camp swept all 20 seats in the Election Committee legal sub-sector in the 2006 election. Ms Ng defeated two other candidates with a majority of 75 per cent of valid votes in the 2004 Legco poll.
A total of 5,483 lawyers were registered as voters in the constituency, according to Registration and Electoral Office statistics last year.