Election Notebook: Pro-Beijing lawyer sidesteps 2012 comments on liaison office support
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Paul Tse Wai-chun, a pro-Beijing candidate tipped to win the last seat in Kowloon East, became an easy target for his pan-democratic rivals at Now TV’s election forum on Tuesday night.
Civic Party’s Jeremy Tam Man-ho fired the first salvo: “Do you think the liaison office should have a role in Hong Kong’s domestic affairs?” Tse replied no. Tam pressed: “Did the liaison office support you in the election?” Tse said: “It depends on how you define support.”
Brandishing a copy of the Post containing a 2012 interview with the soliciter, Tam quoted: “‘It is necessary for a candidate to gain Beijing’s support’– was that what you said?”
Tse claimed he was taken “out of context”.
In the Post interview, Tse had alluded to support from the central government’s liaison office, saying: “In a way, it is true. As we made contact, I got the message that they did not object to me entering the election, as I was considered a better choice than some other rivals whom they saw as troublemakers.”
Fingers pointed over dubious calls in NT West
Infighting within the pro-establishment camp has widened, after two candidates from the biggest pro-government party indirectly accused allies of “deceiving” their supporters in New Territories West.
“My supporters said they received phone calls telling them the DAB has got enough votes, so they should vote for someone else instead,” said incumbent lawmaker Leung Che-cheung from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.
Leung’s fellow candidate, Ben Chan Han-pan, said he also received similar reports.
Asked if the calls were made by the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions or fellow candidate Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, Leung declined to comment.
Voting suggestion by union causes uproar
An immigration workers’ union caused an uproar among members after suggesting they vote for two candidates from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, which had links to an arsonist who set a fire at the Immigration Tower years ago.
The Hong Kong Immigration Department Staff Association – a subunion of the federation – issued a letter to some members on August 19, suggesting they back Wong Kwok-kin in Kowloon East, and ‘super seat’ candidate Wong Kwok-hing.
The call invoked bitter memories of Shi Junlong, a mainland activist and supporter of the federation. Shi served eight years’ jail in the city for an arson attack in 2000 that killed two, including an immigration officer. He was granted Hong Kong residency in 2013.
“Why are we voting for the evil?” an officer wrote on social media.
Association chairman Wong Tong-sing said that Shi had already been punished, adding: “We should not mix personal emotion with the elections.”
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