Heung Yee Kuk should consider treating Eddie Chu as an ally

If there is someone or some people with intentions to harm Chu, the kuk should help police bring them to justice

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2016, 12:38am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2016, 12:38am

Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has made exposing land corruption in the New Territories and reforming the Heung Yee Kuk, the powerful rural body, his primary political mission.

Given the pervasive lawlessness in many rural areas, it’s hardly surprising the newly elected legislator and his family are being targeted by criminal elements. The death threats against them are credible. That’s why the police are taking them seriously and have offered round-the-clock protection. That’s why Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Security Secretary Lai Tung-kwok have contacted Chu to try to understand the situation.

Even Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, an establishment lawmaker and former security chief, said Chu’s political activities would likely have upset some powerful rural forces.

However, Leung Fuk-yuen, chairman of the Shap Pat Heung rural committee, has accused Chu of spreading “white terror” over the threats. He said the incident had been exaggerated by Chu’s high-key manner, and had prompted people to think Hong Kong was a “horrible place”. No, Mr Leung, Hong Kong is not a horrible place, but large swathes of the New Territories are dominated by dodgy landlords and their thugs.

Eddie Chu spreading ‘white terror’ with talk of death threats, Yuen Long rural leader claims

Kuk chairman Kenneth Lau Ip-keung has had more sense. Having kept quiet for days, he has finally come out to condemn any threats or potential violence against public figures. That is a sensible first step to take. But much work reminds to be done.

The kuk is one of the most important and powerful political bodies in Hong Kong. Its representatives sit in the election committee for the chief executive, in the legislature and Exco, and in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. It often gets what it wants – from small-house policy to land development and village head elections – because the government needs its support in other areas of policy. But besides representing rural interests, the kuk’s leaders must stand for the rule of law, not lawlessness and violence; for rational land development in the public interest, not for the dark forces of criminality and hidden vested interests for land exploitation; for transparency, not secretive and unaccountable decision-making.

That’s why the kuk ought to treat Chu as an ally and use whatever knowledge or connections it has to help protect him and enable law enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of things. And if there really are people with nefarious intentions against Chu, help police bring them to justice.