Political passions flare

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 November, 2011, 12:00am


Pundits predicted a rough day at the polls for pan-democratic candidates, and things turned ugly for some rivals who engaged in face-to-face yelling and scuffles.

In Mei Foo, Civic Party campaigners were drowned out by hecklers angry about the party's stance on the right of abode for foreign domestic helpers and helping to delay the building of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.

The Democratic Party, attacked throughout the campaign by the radical People Power group, faced an aggressive confrontation from well-known radical Edward Yum Liang-hsien in Wong Tai Sin.

He is nicknamed 'Victoria Park brother' for his habit of shouting loudly during weekly forums held in the Causeway Bay park.

In Mei Foo, the Civic Party's attempt to pull candidates back from landslide defeats turned into chaos when party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit arrived to help rally supporters.

His speeches were continually interrupted by heckling from Wong Tat-tung, the candidate from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), and Wong's supporters.

'No residency for foreign domestic helpers; support Wong Tat-tung,' shouted Wong and his supporters, including Young DAB's vice-chairman Derrick Tan Wie-hon.

The heated exchanges escalated into scuffles that briefly broke out between the two camps. They were stopped only when some Civic Party volunteers stepped in.

Wong Tai Sin, one of the key battlefields in yesterday's district council elections, was custom-made for confrontation given the presence of People Power's Yum, who was involved in confrontations with Chan Yuen-han of the Federation of Trade Unions and the Democratic Party's Ricky Lam Wai-kei.

In one unfriendly scene, labour activist Chan, surrounded by almost 40 supporters, was circulating in Upper Wong Tai Sin Estate to canvass votes. Yum chased after her, demanding in vain an open discussion, given her repeated prior refusals to attend pre-election forums.

'Is she merely staging a show or really bringing residents' voices into the council?' he asked. 'What a joke that I couldn't even have a short chat with her.

'I need to award [Chan] this best actress award,' shouted Yum. 'Your security is even heavier than the chief executive's!'

Surrounded by several layers of her volunteers, Chan kept smiling and saying: 'Please vote for No 1,' referring to her candidate number.

Chan finally went into a shopping mall to avoid what she called 'some funny acts' - direct confrontation with Yum.

She said it was Yum's rude manner that prevented any chance of open discussions.

'I did expect to talk to him, but he kept clashing with my [supporter] residents, scolding them,' Chan said.

Yum later encountered the Democratic Party's Lam, who stood silently as Yum, standing toe-to-toe, yelled at him for five minutes in front of television cameras.

'Why didn't I respond to him?' Lam later told reporters, 'Well, it's like you wouldn't expect a mad cow to understand Cantonese, would you?' This kind of 'violent politics' from Yum was always expected, he said.

Yesterday's elections were hotly contested because of the newly created five Legislative Council 'super seats' in the district council functional constituency.

Reports by Ada Lee, Tanna Chong, Thomas Chan, Peter So, Stuart Lau, Gary Cheung


candidates contested 336 constituencies in a total of 18 district councils