An organiser of the New Year's Day pro-government rally distanced himself yesterday from a businessman who was allegedly seen in the company of a teenager handing out money to participants in the march.
New Territories Association of Societies chairman Chan Yung said that he did not know Choy Chi-fung, a member of the pro-government New Territories General Chamber of Commerce, who was spotted at the rally with an 18-year-old identified as "Ah Long" seen handing cash to participants.
Ah Long said meanwhile that a media report of his activities was wrong and he might sue.
But a march participant said he had received money from Ah Long, who was holding a wad of HK$1,000 notes.
Ah Long was quoted in Apple Daily yesterday as saying he was referred to the "job" by a friend at the end of last month, and was hoping to gain "a little bit of money". The friend was quoted as saying Ah Long earned about HK$20,000. He did not say where the money came from.
Reached by the South China Morning Post, Ah Long said "the report was all wrong", but refused to elaborate. He said he was considering legal action against Apple Daily.
One participant who said he received HK$1,000 from Ah Long during the march said he saw Choy, accompanied by a female friend, talking to the teenager and another man before the rally. "It was kind of unusual that they were there. They were dressed nicely, unlike the rest of us."
The 30-year-old man, who identified himself as "Ah Ho", said he contacted Ah Long on smartphone message service WhatsApp about three days before the event because he wanted to see what it was about.
Ah Long first told him the list was full and put him on the waiting list. His participation, with four to five friends, was later confirmed through WhatsApp.
Ah Ho said Ah Long was holding a pile of HK$1,000 notes when he was distributing the money.
Choy, a director of two companies, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The chamber's general affairs officer and Tai Po district councillor Ken Yu Chi-wing said the chamber did not organise its members to join the march.