A member of a pro-Beijing party has emerged as a candidate for deputy security chief, a job widely tipped to go to the number two policeman in Hong Kong.
Barrister Lawrence Ma Yan-kwok, 41, convenor of a legal committee of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said he had applied in June for the post of undersecretary for security. He had also applied for the equivalent post in the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau.
The security job had been expected to go to deputy police commissioner, John Lee Ka-chiu.
The appointment is expected to be announced after the Legislative Council election.
Ma, a member of the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC), who returned from Australia in 2007, said he had already been interviewed for the job. He said he would be happy to renounce his Australian passport if he was appointed.
Council member Albert Cheng King-hon said: "All IPCC members know about his application and we have congratulated him."
However, there are still uncertainties over the post.
Within the police force, Lee is understood to be favourite for the job, although he has not officially applied for early retirement.
Special retirement arrangements could be made if he was appointed.
Political analyst James Sung Lap-kung said it would be better to appoint someone with experience in the disciplined services.
"It is not an easy job to manage 6,000 disciplined services officers," he said.
A spokesman for the chief executive's office said the selection progress was continuing and the result would be announced at a suitable time.