Veteran Hong Kong politician Albert Ho undergoes surgery for early-stage lung cancer

Friends say Ho resting at home after getting treatment at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 11:08pm

Veteran pro-democracy politician Albert Ho Chun-yan has had surgery to treat early-stage lung cancer, according to his friends.

Sin Chung-kai, fellow democrat and a close aide of Ho, said Ho was diagnosed with the condition during a full-body CT scan last month.

“It was not life-threatening. But to play it safe, of course, upon doctors’ advice, Albert underwent surgery last Friday and is recovering,” Sin, who visited Ho on Sunday, said.

It was understood that the former Democratic Party leader was admitted to Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital for the surgery.

“He looked fine and he said there was no sign the cancer had spread,” Sin said.

Sin expected Ho to rest for one or two months before fully resuming his normal work.

Ho, 65, chairs the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, and leads the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.

Outgoing Hong Kong lawmaker Albert Ho a tireless fighter for the oppressed who sticks to his core values

“I think he is lucky. Because he said he had no plan to do the CT scan for the full body. A friend of his booked the session but could not make it, so Albert was asked to take it up instead,” Sin said.

Sin said he learned about Ho’s condition last week and was “shocked”. “Albert’s health has been very OK,” he said.

Fellow democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming, who visited Ho over the weekend and last chatted with him over the phone on Wednesday, said he was told that the surgery was “very successful”.

Alliance vice-chairman Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong declined to discuss the details of Ho’s medical treatment but said Ho had been discharged and was now resting at home.

Tsoi also said he was optimistic Ho would fully recover and continue to lead the alliance. “There is no plan for the alliance to get a new chairman and the alliance business is not affected,” he said.

Ho was absent from the memorial vigil at Tamar Park last Wednesday, organised by the alliance to mark the seventh day after the death of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Tsoi officiated at the ceremony.

Lee Cheuk-yan, former legislator and a core member of the alliance, said Ho had discreetly told him about “some minor health problem” during the alliance’s rallies to mourn Liu. “He said he would probably need to be absent from other activities for several weeks,” Lee said. “I was a bit surprised. He had been in good spirits during the rallies.”

Regarded as a moderate pan-democrat, Ho is a solicitor and first entered the Legislative Council in 1995. In 1998, he won one of the 20 elected seats of the post-handover Legco. He was a legislator until 2016, when he decided not to seek another term.

In 2010, Ho, as Democratic Party chairman, led his colleagues in closed-door talks with Beijing officials over a reform package which they subsequently supported. It triggered a storm among some members of the pan-democratic camp, who said the party had betrayed them, and saw it as too much of a compromise.

In 2012, he represented the pan-democratic camp to take part in the chief executive election, running against pro-Beijing candidates Leung Chun-ying and Henry Tang Ying-yen. Ho was defeated, securing only 76 votes.