Live coverage: Hong Kong heads out to the polls for Legco elections

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 September, 2012, 10:44am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 September, 2012, 10:23pm

Updated 10.24pm

Civic Party candidate reports voting irregularities

The Civic Party’s Ronny Tong Ka-wah, candidate for New Territories East, said two voters at the City One polling station in Sha Tin told him that when they went to cast their votes, they found their names already registered as “voted”. He said both have reported to the police.

He also said some voters were allowed to vote with masks on, and said the Registration and Electoral Office should follow up.

“I am very disappointed. This is challenging our corruption-free election system,” Tong said.

At 8.30pm, Tong issued a call to vote in Tseung Kwan O, with fellow party members Margaret Ng. He said the high turnover rate in the morning indicated that the pro-government election machinery is working.

“Pan-democratic supporters usually won’t vote that early in the day,” he said, adding that he is preparing for the worst, as opinion polls in the past two weeks indicated he was ranked ninth. Reporting by Simpson Cheung

Updated 9.25pm

Voter turnout at 43.85pc, up from 2008

Overall voter turnout in Sunday’s Legislative elections was 43.85 per cent by 8.30pm, up from four years ago when the turnout was 36.66 per cent in the same period (from 7.30am to 8.30pm).

So far, 1,520,003 of 3,466,201 registered voters have cast their ballots. Others have until 10.30pm on Sunday to go to the polls.

With more registered voters than in 2004 and 2008’s elections, this year appears to be on track to beat the overall turnout in 2008, which was 45.2 per cent. In 2004, 1,784,406 (of 3,207,227, or 55.64 per cent) registered voters came out, according to government figures.

Updated 8.47pm

Kwok rallies for Audrey Eu

Kwok Ka-ki of the Civic Party is now garnering votes in the city centre of Tuen Mun, in the New Territories West constituency, with the slogan "Keep [Audrey] Eu Yuet-mee". He said he was confident that Eu could be re-elected to represent the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency. Reporting by Jolie Ho


Updated 8.10pm

On the campaign trail

Polling stations close in about two hours. Here's a look at how some of the Legco candidates spent their Sunday:

Updated 6pm

C.Y. votes, says he's happy to see end of protest

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was at the polling booth early on Sunday morning and happy to share the news about the end of the national education protest.

After casting his votes at the German Swiss International School’s campus on The Peak, he told the waiting media crowd that the crowd of protesters camped outside the government’s headquarters was dispersing.

Tens of thousands of protestors had been rallying outside the building in Admiralty since last Monday to express their anger at the introduction of national education in Hong Kong schools. Several engaged in hunger strikes as a form of non-violent protest.

“I hope the hunger strikers will get healthy again as soon as possible,” Leung said.

The chief executive also reiterated that he made the decision to amend the policy on the introduction of the national education curriculum on Saturday after taking various organisations’ views into account.

“I believe the new policy can satisfy many people, and can reach the biggest consensus. I also hope our education system, especially teaching and school life, can return to normal as soon as possible,” he said.

New Territories East candidate “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Hong Kong Island contestant Avery Ng Man-yuen, both from the League of Social Democrats, protested outside the polling station and asked Leung to explain about the illegal structures at his home.  They also threw a cardboard placard at Leung, but it did not hit him or anyone else. Reporting by Tony Cheung

Updated 5.19pm

Andrew To and ‘Long Hair’ clash with Paul Tse

Tempers flared in Kowloon Bay on Sunday afternoon as independent candidate Paul Tse Wai-Chun’s campaign to win a seat in Kowloon East was disrupted by rival Andrew To Kwan-hang and his fellow League of Social Democrats member “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, who is standing in New Territories East.

The two arrived shortly after Tse settled at his booth at a bus terminal near Amoy Garden at around 2pm

“You are the godson of the Western District! Shame on you!” To and Leung shouted, referring to an allegedly close relationship between Tse and Beijing’s liaison office in Western District.

They followed Tse’s team in the streets for a few minutes, before Tse was forced to get into his van and leave.

To said he felt nervous about his chances of winning and called for families choosing the pan-democratic camp to “reserve one vote” for him.

During the clashes, Tse said he advocated “healthy democracy” and refused to confront his rivals face to face.

Earlier, when asked about his response to People Power’s criticism of him in a leaflet, Tse said: “This labelling tactic is childish”.

Tse also said the government should have withdrawn its national education plans long before opposition reached a boiling point. Reporting and video by Joyce Ng

Updated 5.10pm

Updated 5.03pm

Cheung confident of making comeback

Legco candidates running in the New Territories East constituency were making last-ditch efforts to woo voters on Sunday.

While the latest polls show that the Labour Party’s Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung does not have a very great chance of securing a seat, Cheung is confident he will be able to stage a comeback in Legco, where he used to be a lawmaker.

He said he had been fighting for the underprivileged for 15 years and was confident they would vote for him, especially as there were many underprivileged people living in New Territories East.

Meanwhile, People Power candidate Raymond Chan Chi-chuen said he was very confident he would get elected as the latest polls suggested he would. However, he said it would take a “miracle” for Erica Yuen Mi-ming, who is second on his slate, to win a seat.

Chan said once he was elected, his top priority would be to push the government to scrap the controversial national education as well as urging it to increase cash handouts to Hongkongers. Reporting by Phila Siu


Updated 4.42pm

Candidates unhappy with ‘smear campaigns’

Two candidates from the pan-democratic camp on Sunday afternoon hit back at smear campaigns conducted by other candidates in the Kowloon East constituency.

Democrat Wu Chi-wai said his strategy focused on countering the smear campaign by People Power’s Wong Yeung-tat.

“We have been explaining our stance on political reform in response to the attack. We are facing a tough situation being attacked by the pro-establishment parties and People Power,” Wu said.

Alan Leong Kah-kit, of the Civic Party, meanwhile, said another candidate, Independent Paul Tse Wai-Chun, “pretended to be independent” although he was “backed by Beijing’s liaison office”.

“The six pan-democrats are competing for the same source of vote. It is a very close fight,” Leong said.

The two candidates also said the government’s change of policy on national education classes had little impact on their election strategy. Reporting by Joyce Ng

Updated 4.30pm

Tough battle in massive constituency

New Territories West is looking at a chaotic battle with 16 slates of candidates scrambling for nine seats, and on Sunday morning candidates were busily deploying numerous volunteers and broadcasting devices to canvass for votes in the massive constituency.

Vehicles ranging from family cars to trucks equipped with speakers started touring around Tsuen Wan, Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun early on Sunday morning.

Cars were also being used to take voters to the polling stations, as seen in Wang Toi Shan San Tsuen, Yuen Long.

Independent candidate Chan Keung, who comes from a rural background, placed his volunteers across major polling stations in Yuen Long and Tuen Mun.

Answering those who accused him of rarely showing up during the campaign period, he said he “had been busy handling district issues”, refusing to give further details or answer queries about previously reported vote-rigging accusations.

Civic Party candidate Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, who is second on the slate headed by  Dr Kwok Ka-ki, expressed worries about her re-election prospects.

“I will really need a lot of votes to get a seat. The battle is chaotic and I may win or lose with a margin as narrow as few thousand, or even a few hundred votes,” said Eu, who was putting in some last-minute campaign efforts with help from her husband. Reporting by Tanna Chong

Updated 4.20pm

Tam’s ADPL party fights to survive at the polls

The 25-year-old Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood is fighting for its life – with polls showing that it could lose its only seat in the Legislative Council, says the party’s Kowloon West candidate Tam Kwok-kiu.

After the incumbent legislator for the Kowloon West constituency, Frederick Fung Kin-lee, switched to the race for one of the five new “super seats” in the functional constituency, vice-chairman Tam is left to wrestle for the party’s traditional stronghold.

Tam, 54, said his situation was “risky” as previous opinions polls indicated that his ticket was lagging behind the top five seats.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s announcement on Saturday on the cancellation of a three-year trial period on national education might also add uncertainties to the results, he said.

“The cancellation may make indecisive voters opt for pro-establishment candidates, because they think the administration has made a compromise,” Tam said.

Asked if he was worried the party might lose in both constituencies, Tam said he had to try his best to canvass for votes.

“I started my electioneering today from Sham Shui Po – which is ADPL’s base,” he said. “I need to mobilise as many as our supporters to vote.”

He is hoping to keep most of Fung’s 35,440 voters from four years ago, and he estimates that he needs at least 25,000 to 30,000 votes to secure a seat.

Other candidates in the constituency include the lists led by People Power’s Wong Yuk-man, the DAB’s Ann Chiang Lai-wan, Kowloon West New Dynamic’s Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, the Civic Party’s Claudia Mo Man-ching and the Democratic Party’s Helena Wong Pik-wan, Hong Kong Awakening Association’s Lam Yi-lai, and two independent candidates Wong Yat-yuk and Wong Yee-him. Reporting by Thomas Chan

Updated 4.12pm

Lo ‘cautiously optimistic’ on poll

Independent Dr Lo Wing-lok said that to win a seat in Sunday’s election, he would need 8,000 more votes than he got in his previous, unsuccessful, attempt to succeed in the highly-competitive Hong Kong Island geographical constituency in 2008.

Riding around Chai Wai in a small open-top car, the former one-term medical sector lawmaker said on Sunday afternoon, he remained “cautiously optimistic” about his longed-for victory.

“The residents’ response seems better than in 2008,” he said. “Many said they would vote for me.”

But with the already-fierce contest among pro-democracy candidates, Lo, who calls himself a “leftist democrat”, says the fifth to seventh seats are too chaotic to be certain. He said he spent 20 per cent more on election expenditure this time.

He planned to concentrate his effort on East and Southern districts.

Updated 3.55pm

Wong targets rival in leaflet campaign…

Wong Yeung-tat, a People Power candidate in the Kowloon East constituency, started his day on Sunday in a DHL van, which he said was just giving him a ride before the driver started working.

Accompanied by People Power’s Kowloon West candidate Wong Yuk-man, he handed out new leaflets in restaurants in the morning, singling out rival Paul Tse Wai-chun, after attacking Democrat Wu Chi-wai in another leaflet on Saturday.

Asked whether he would go and confront the two, he said: “I am only reaching out to the voters.”

…while Leong calls for more support

Another candidate Alan Leong Kah-kit of the Civic Party said he asked voters to concentrate their votes on him. His assistant said: “Don’t think Alan has enough votes because he is topping the the poll. In the last election, he topped the polls, but ended up winning with barely enough votes to take the last seat.” Reporting by Joyce Ng

Updated 3.36pm

Infighting could unseat pro-Beijing candidates

Infighting among Beijing loyalist parties has added uncertainty as to who might be ultimately defeated in Sunday’s election.

Incumbent legislator Wong Kwok-hing, from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), has shifted constituencies from the grassroots-majority New Territories West to middle-class dominated Hong Kong Island.

“There is a crisis as households might split votes among members,” Wong said during a swift visit to Siu Sai Wan Estate. He hinted that supporters might back the FTU’s back key rival, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, which had two teams on the island, including rolling poll-topping Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.

Wong added that he did not fear the controversial national education curriculum debate – which attracted crowds of tens of thousands of  protesters and forced Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to backtrack on the government’s plan to implement teaching the subject just hours ahead of the poll – would affect his prospects.

The pro establishment camp also sees ex-security minister Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and Liberal Party chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee vying for one of Hong Kong Island’s seven seats.

Those contesting Hong Kong Island include: independents Hui Ching-on, Dr Lo Wing-kok, Ng Wing-chun and Ho Kar-tai; Democrat Sin Chung-kai; Christopher Lau Gar-hung of People Power; the DAB's Christopher Chung Shu-kun and Jasper Tsang Yok-sing; Cyd Ho Sau-lan of the Labour Party; Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee of the New People Party; Wong Kwok-hing of the Federation of Trade Unions; Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party; Miriam Lau Kin-yee of the Liberal Party; and Avery Ng Man-yuen of the League of Social Democrats.  Reporting by Stuart Lau

Updated 3pm

Newcomer Christopher Lau aims high

First-time Legco election candidate Christopher Lau Gar-hung is aiming high thanks to his highly argumentative and well-known running mate in the radical People Power team.

“Realistically, we hope to score behind the Civic Party and be the second among the pan-democrats – including the Democratic Party,” said Lau, when canvassing in Quarry Bay on Sunday morning.

He is joined on his ticket by Shiu Yeuk-yuen, co-producer of the world’s first 3D erotic movie 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy.

“Voters should treat this poll as a referendum of confidence towards Leung Chun-ying,” Lau added.

But Lau – whose debut election attempt last year in the District Council poll resulted in only 141 votes, making him a loser – expressed his worries over the higher-than-last-time voter turnout. “This might be the effect of vote rigging planned by the pro-establishment camp,” he said.

He remains “cautiously optimistic” about his chance of winning. 

Those contesting Hong Kong Island include: independents Hui Ching-on, Dr Lo Wing-kok, Ng Wing-chun and Ho Kar-tai; Democrat Sin Chung-kai; Christopher Lau Gar-hung of People Power; the DAB's Christopher Chung Shu-kun and Jasper Tsang Yok-sing; Cyd Ho Sau-lan of the Labour Party; Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee of the New People Party; Wong Kwok-hing of the Federation of Trade Unions; Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party; Miriam Lau Kin-yee of the Liberal Party; and Avery Ng Man-yuen of the League of Social Democrats. Reporting by Stuart Lau

Updated 2.54pm

Miriam Lau puts in final effort 

Liberal Party chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee (pictured, Photo: Edward Wong) is making a last-ditch effort to distance her party from the government, in a move to secure a seat in the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency.The 65-year-old has been in Legco for more than 20 years and currently represents the transport functional constituency.

This is her first attempt to win a geographical constituency, and she admits to being a marginal candidate.

But she has been canvassing hard. Speaking in Quarry Bay on Sunday morning, her voice was already hoarse.

“I’m here to stand against violent parties,” she told voters. “If you don’t want Hong Kong to fall behind the Philippines or Vietnam... please vote for me.” 

However, her heavyweight supporter, Beijing-loyalist Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, was not beside her on election day. Lau said Fan was leaving Hong Kong on Sunday, although “she should have cast her votes”.  

Those contesting Hong Kong Island include: independents Hui Ching-on, Dr Lo Wing-kok, Ng Wing-chun and Ho Kar-tai; Democrat Sin Chung-kai; Christopher Lau Gar-hung of People Power; the DAB's Christopher Chung Shu-kun and Jasper Tsang Yok-sing; Cyd Ho Sau-lan of the Labour Party; Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee of the New People Party; Wong Kwok-hing of the Federation of Trade Unions; Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party; Miriam Lau Kin-yee of the Liberal Party; and Avery Ng Man-yuen of the League of Social Democrats. Reporting by Stuart Lau

Updated at 2.16pm

Updated at 10.40am

Lau Kong-wah, a "Super seat" candidate representing the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, told SCMP that the pro-establishment camp might have gained a slight advantage after the government backed down last night from compulsory national education.

"Some voters may feel that the society should not be too radical, and want some rational voice", he said. Lau said he believed the voters on the whole are not likely to cast their ballots based on single issue.

"It is good that the government softened its stance on the matter. We hope they could continue to communicate the matter with the public." He made the comment during an early canvassing activity in a Tsuen Wan wet market on Sunday morning.

Lau said the pro-establishment camp had not communited with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on the matter before Leung announced the climb-down at a press conference Saturday evening.   Reporting by Emily Tsang

Chart: Legco 2012 Elections facts