Calls for withdrawal dominate public forums
Radio and internet forums have been flooded with criticism of the troubled chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen and calls for him to quit the race. Some even threatened to take to the streets against the former chief secretary.
'If [Tang] is to be elected eventually, Hong Kong will be worse than many third world countries, like Ethiopia,' one RTHK radio caller said. But there was also praise for Tang's wife, Lisa Kuo Yu-chin, for shouldering responsibility over the illegal basement scandal and shielding her husband.
'If the woman loves her husband so much, why don't we nominate the wife to run for chief executive election?' another caller said.
But others said the couple were just acting remorseful in front of the public and insisted Hong Kong people would not forgive Kuo, who already owns other properties in the city, for building the basement for her family's comfort.
The internet was deluged with digitally altered movie posters, cartoons and pictures, mocking the couple. Hundreds of mash-up photos have emerged on Facebook and other online forums since Tang was embroiled in the scandal.
An altered movie poster features 'Henry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets', with the faces of Tang, Kuo, and rivals Leung Chun-ying and Albert Ho Chun-yan in place of characters from the Harry Potter series.
Tang's face also appears on a poster for the Hollywood movie Inception, retitled 'Deception'.
Another poster, from the film The Iron Lady, a biography of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, sees the title changed to 'Selling Wife' in Chinese, with Tang's face imposed over that of actress Meryl Streep.
Some nicknamed the basement scandal 'the Great Earthquake of Tangshan ', in reference to the catastrophe in Hebei province in 1976 which claimed the lives of 242,000, using the city's name as a pun on Tang's.
More than 4,000 Facebook users had joined an anti-Tang group calling on 100,000 people to oppose his candidacy.