Legislative Council elections 2016

‘Tuna sandwich’ protest against CY Leung kicks off lively polling day for Hong Kong

Election fever hits the city, with hospital patients leaving wards to vote, protesters out against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, and celebrities taking part in last-minute campaigning

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 10:23pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 11:52pm

The city swung into full election mode on Sunday, with patients in hospitals asking for special permission to head to polling stations and celebrities descending on busy streets to canvass support for their favourite candidates.

Streets were festooned with colourful campaign banners, and the sound of audio recordings from candidates echoed through high-rise housing blocks.

Watch: Candidates made a last-ditch effort to secure votes on election day

Polling day kicked off with a “tuna sandwich” protest against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. As the Hong Kong leader arrived at a polling station in Central early in the morning, he was greeted by protesters from the League of Social Democrats including the party’s chairman Avery Ng Man-yuen, a Kowloon West constituency candidate. Ng allegedly threw a tuna sandwich at Leung, who managed to avoid being hit.

The polls were the first general Legislative Council elections since the pro-democracy Occupy protests paralysed parts of the city in 2014.

Since then a burgeoning “localist” faction has burst onto the city’s political scene, providing voters with a choice apart from the traditional pan-democratic and pro-establishment camps.

Social worker Candie Wong, who had been staying in a Wan Chai hospital for a month for treatment for a blood infection, asked her doctor to grant her a one-hour trip to a polling station.

“I did everything to exercise my duty as a citizen,” she said. “If I don’t vote this time, we might end up with lawmakers who only know how to clap their hands.”

Elsewhere, veteran actress and singer Deanie Ip Tak-han descended on Causeway Bay to throw her support behind Hong Kong Island candidate Nathan Law Kwun-chung.

Asked if she was concerned about possible reprisals against her by Beijing for her high-profile support for a pro-democracy candidate, Ip said: “They have the right to criticise and we respect their criticisms ... I do what I want to do and what I think is right.”

At Ping Shek Estate in the Kowloon East constituency, kung fu master Ip Chun was enlisted by the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong to show up at a rally to drum up support for the party’s candidates.

In Tai Koo in the Hong Kong Island constituency, a brief encounter between Law and one of his rivals, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, led to amused looks from onlookers.

“Have you recovered yet?” Law asked Ip, poking fun at the incumbent legislator for her “timely” absences from several recent election forums citing “coughing”. Ip was apparently not amused and replied plainly: “I’m still coughing.”

When the pair were asked to pose for a picture together, Law declined.

“No, thanks, because Ip is so ...” he said, before walking away.

Stuart Lau, Naomi Ng, Kinling Lo, Tony Cheung, Gary Cheung, Joyce Ng, Emily Tsang and Ng Kang-chung

For election results, facts and figures, visit: http://multimedia.scmp.com/counting-room