Hong Kong leadership race contender Carrie Lam meets Tin Shui Wai community after ‘too tired’ comment

City’s former No 2 discusses public markets and bazaar policy with concern groups

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 3:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 March, 2017, 11:40pm

The front runner in Hong Kong’s leadership race met with grass-roots concern groups in the city’s far northwest on Thursday after enduring heavy criticism last week when a campaign staffer said she was “too tired” to make the trip.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was received warmly by several elderly residents in Tin Shui Wai. Yet the latest poll by Lingnan University found she was only supported by 25 per cent of respondents across the city. More than 52 per cent of those polled wanted former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah to be the next chief executive.

Lam, the former chief secretary, addressed a claim by lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching that the Independent Commission Against Corruption had probed her role in a deal to build the city’s version of Beijing’s Palace Museum. Lam said there was no way to avoid “unreasonable accusations” in the run-up to the election.

Lam apologised again for the miscommunication over the engagement in Tin Shui Wai, New Territories, and pledged to keep visiting communities and reach out to the grass roots if elected.

Prior to yesterday’s visit, concern groups had expressed disappointment over Lam’s no-show. They urged her to improve the livelihood of residents in the area.

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The other two chief executive contenders, Tsang and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, had already met the groups in the district. All three have pledged to set up more public markets and temporary bazaars.

On Thursday, Lam’s campaign office released a video clip showing her visiting Sham Shui Po with Professor Nelson Chow Wing-sang, under a theme of “connecting Hong Kong”.

The video raised many eyebrows as the two had sparred over the public consultation on retirement protection. Chow described his role in the video as passive and claimed he was not backing Lam. Lam’s office stated Chow had agreed to the video arrangements.

Other controversies have arisen this week for the former chief secretary.

On Thursday, just days before the 1,194 members of the Election Committee choose the city’s next leader, Lam faced a second judicial review over her candidacy.

Retired civil servant Kwok Cheuk-kin filed a case claiming that Lam – a British national who resided in the United Kingdom from 2004 to 2006 – had breached section 13 of the Chief Executive Election Ordinance. He argued she did not reside continuously in Hong Kong for 20 years as the eligibility requirements stipulate.

The first judicial review was filed on Tuesday by retired photojournalist Cheung Tak-wing. He argued Lam had right of abode in the European Union through her husband’s British nationality.

Additional reporting by Jasmine Siu