Legislative Council elections 2016

The battle for Hong Kong Island: it’s not as simple as ABC for Ricky Wong

Media maverick blames supporters for defeat by Civic Party’s Tanya Chan

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 September, 2016, 2:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 2:12am

Maverick businessman Ricky Wong Wai-kay, who ranked seventh in the race for six seats on Hong Kong Island, attributed his Legislative Council election defeat to his supporters’ confusion and not because his “ABC” (Anyone But CY Leung) campaign failed to resonate.

The 54-year-old said many of his supporters felt he had “enough” votes so they decided to cast their ballots for someone else.

He disagreed vehemently that his defeat meant his campaign against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was unpopular. “It is definitely [popular],” he said. “As long as CY Leung is here to stay, the people will not trust the government and any good policy can’t be implemented.”

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The elected pan-democrats will continue with the cause to unseat the chief executive, he said.

“I ran because I wanted to help increase pan-democrats’ bargaining power to push Beijing to [give] the green light for the two Mr Tsangs to run for chief executive,” he said, referring to Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and outgoing Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.

“Can Hongkongers endure until 2022 if CY Leung is re-elected?”

Asked if he had any plans to run for the chief executive position himself, Wong said: “How will I have the mood now?”

Shares in Wong’s media company, Hong Kong Television Network, tumbled as much as 10.38 per cent in Monday’s trading session and ended the day at HK$1.41, down 8.4 per cent from last Friday.

In October 2013, the Executive Council, a group of top advisers to Leung, denied Wong’s HKTV the free-to-air television licence he sought, sparking public uproar and protests, with over 80,000 people taking to the streets to protest against the decision.

Wong criticised the ruling as a “decision made in the dark” and launched a judicial review afterwards.

In April last year, the Court of First Instance ruled that the decision was unlawful as the Executive Council had failed to follow the pro-competition 1998 reform – banning preset limits on the number of licensees – when it rejected the HKTV application. This meant that the Exco had to reconsider the application.

But in April, the Court of Appeal overruled the Court of First Instance’s ruling, dealing a blow to Wong’s long-running battle to secure a share of the free-to-air television market.

Many have suspected that Wong ran for the Legco to gain a better chance in the fight for the licence, and that his much publicised dislike of Leung originated from the 2013 decision, but Wong had repeatedly denied the allegations.

Wong aunched HKTV as an online entertainment and shopping venture.

Meanwhile, Tanya Chan of the Civic Party was elected into the Legco, taking the last of the six seats in the constituency, narrowly beating Wong by 2,000 votes.

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