20 councillors helped Tse win Legco seat

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2012, 4:40am

It is almost an open secret in political circles that independent lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun won election to Legco in September with the blessing of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong. His latest submission of campaign expenditure seems to give further proof. The solicitor, who advertises himself as the "Superman of Law", parachuted into Kowloon East from the tourism sector. Surprisingly, because as many as 20 district councillors - all from the pro-establishment bloc - were willing to turn their offices into election bases for him despite the fact that he had no roots in the district. His partner, Pamela Peck Wan-kam, was, however, less favoured by the invisible hand. She spent about HK$2.5 million in her doomed campaign for one of the five newly created "super seats". Advertising was her most powerful weapon: she bought 17 newspaper ads days before the election and sent a million text messages on ballot day.

In a contrasting strategy, People Power's Wong Yeung-tat, who also ran in Kowloon East, tried to win support online. In his submission, he listed more than 1,100 entries for election ads via Facebook, YouTube, e-mail - all free of charge. Overall, he spent only a modest HK$860,000 for ads. Rival candidate Andrew To Kwan-hang, of the League of Social Democrats, spent more than HK$1 million for ads despite having a tighter budget. Joshua But


Carrie Lam too busy to see her family in UK

When Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced her plans to visit London, there was speculation she would find the time to visit her sons and husband. But the workaholic mum has had to stay away from her family even at a time when they have seldom been so close. Asked if she had any plans to go to Cambridge for a family reunion during her three-day stay in London, she said: "I have never considered that. I am here for work." A passionate official is surely good for the city - and for certain ministers who need Lam to share their work - but a short break is perhaps needed for Lam, whose health became a matter of public concern after she visibly lost weight just four months into the job. Tanna Chong


Helena Wong to learn her lesson on voting

Never a mistake, always a lesson. That may be the motto of Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan, who has been widely criticised for a surprising abstention that allowed Legco's house committee to veto an attempt by Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit to force an adjournment of proceedings to debate Executive Councillor Franklin Lam Fan-keung's decision to take a leave of absence after criticism of his alleged profiting from inside information on new stamp duties. Lam took leave of absence after a row erupted over the sale of two of his properties in Mid-Levels just days before the government introduced the new duties. Wong said she wanted to support Leong's motion, and says she is not sure whether she mistakenly pressed the "abstain" button or a technical error incorrectly displayed her vote. She said she and several other Democrats would join a session to learn how the electronic voting system works. Colleen Lee