Legislative Council elections 2016

Hong Kong Legco’s ‘king of props’ Wong Kwok-hing prepares to bow out after 12 years

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 September, 2016, 12:25pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 September, 2016, 10:59pm

Calligraphy, a fake leg, golden scissors – these are all icons of Federation of Trade Unions legislator Wong Kwok-hing that could disappear from the Legislative Council for good after the veteran lost his seat last week.

The 67-year-old has been known for his figurative displays while speaking in Legco.

To those, including Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, who questioned whether lawmakers used props frequently because they were not eloquent enough, Wong said: “There are also people who praised me for being ‘the king of props’ ... The use of images is powerful because it helps the point of contention to stand out in a simple and direct manner, and create a deep impression among the audience.”

“Showing it on television, [a single] prop could represent plenty of words,” he argued.

Wong, elected in 2004, often wielded his giant golden pair of scissors in recent years in response to radical lawmakers’ filibustering of unpopular government proposals.

He has been an outspoken critic of the delaying tactic, and brought the scissors whenever he was calling for Tsang to cut short the marathon debates.

In 2012, Wong also famously said he would not mind fighting filibustering “day and night, and night and day” as he called for pro-establishment lawmakers to meet round-the-clock to beat the radicals’ delaying tactics.

Then, Wong said instead of prolonging the debate by giving speeches, he would write slogans using calligraphy during the meetings.

He also compared the amount of public money wasted on filibustering with the amount of canned food that could be bought otherwise.

“If we are wasting HK$2.55 million, that equals 164,516 cans of luncheon meat,” he once said.

Wong’s vocal style made him a target of ridicule among his opponents.

On Tuesday night, more than 100 people gathered outside Wong’s district office in Siu Sai Wan to celebrate his defeat.

Wong had no comment on his detractors. He told the Post that rather than the canned food, he hoped people would remember him for the fake leg he made.

“[In my Legco career], I am most satisfied to help [leg amputees] become eligible for disability allowance,” Wong said. “I fought for this for a decade, and took the fake leg around to collect people’s signatures on the street to support the cause.”

In Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s policy address in January, Leung promised to “improve the existing medical assessment arrangement for the Disability Allowance” so that more disabled people would be eligible.

Wong added that the FTU also succeeded in lobbying the government to introduce statutory paternity leave of three days on 80 per cent of average daily wages last year.

But he was “most unhappy” about political rivals – who wanted seven days of paternity leave – accusing the FTU of “betraying workers”.