Son of Hong Kong’s richest man among CPPCC heavyweights pledging support for Carrie Lam
51 Election Committee members offer unanimous backing for the former chief secretary in leadership race
One of tycoon Li Ka-shing’s sons and a financier of John Tsang Chun-wah’s chief executive campaign have thrown their weight behind the popular underdog’s arch-rival, front runner Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.
A group of 51 Election Committee members under the subsector for delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, including CK Hutchison deputy chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, pledged support on Wednesday for the former chief secretary.
The CPPCC group also included Marjorie Yang Mun-tak, a shirt-making tycoon and friend of the elder Li who was one of Tsang’s few financial backers, as reported earlier by the Post. Neither of them, however, attended a meeting between Lam and about 30 CPPCC electors on Wednesday.
“We unanimously consider Carrie Lam to be the candidate most suitable to become the next chief executive,” Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen, convenor of the CPPCC group, said afterwards.
The Li family, as well as the Kwoks of Sun Hung Kai Properties, had stayed at arm’s length from Lam’s campaign, shying away from her election rally or her advisory teams.
In an interview with the Chinese-language Ming Pao newspaper, Tsang said he had not gained encouragement from Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man, before he made the decision to run for the city’s highest office.
The CPPCC electors’ move marked the latest in a string of undivided endorsements from pro-Beijing forces amid what appeared to be tight instructions from mainland officials, including China’s No 3 leader, Zhang Dejiang.
The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Heung Yee Kuk and the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce have all committed to support Lam, leaving Tsang to lobby pan-democratic electors for their 300 votes in the 1,194-strong committee.
The CPPCC subsector splintered votes in the last election in 2012, with six of the 55 members naming then-underdog Leung Chun-ying, while the majority backed initial front runner Henry Tang Ying-yen, who went on to lose the race.
Lam appeared unafraid at the possibility of her initial nominators switching votes to back her rival by secret ballot during the March election.
“I believe they support me because they know me,” she said.
Newspaper and tobacco tycoon Charles Ho Tsu-kwok, a CPPCC member, praised Lam as “hardworking” but said Tsang was “not bad” either.
The Civic Party announced on Wednesday night that most of its dozen-odd nominators would split their support between Tsang and former High Court judge Woo Kwok-hing “even if their platforms are not completely in line with” the values of the pro-democracy camp.