Call it a smear campaign or just a quirky protest against the reclamation plan for Lamma Island's seafront, but whoever has been drawing Hitler moustaches on district councillor Yu Lai-fan's election posters had better watch out.
Yu, from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), lodged a complaint with police after some of her campaign posters were defaced by people who drew Hitler moustaches on her face and also wrote sarcastic slogans criticising her policies.
Yu is standing for re-election in today's district council poll for the Lamma and Po Toi constituency. She has publicly backed a government plan for reclamation along the length of the waterfront of Yung Shue Wan, home to seafood restaurants.
In other parts of Lamma, Yu's posters and banners were scrawled with 'I Love Concrete' and 'I Love Reclamation' in marker. District council officials immediately cleaned up the vandalised signs. A DAB spokeswoman confirmed that Yu had reported the vandalism to police.
The HK$55 million project in Yung Shue Wan would provide a new pedestrian path and road for use by ambulances, which would stretch about 400 metres around the bay. The plan would entail reclaiming the entire seafront of the town, described on the Tourism Board's website as having a 'European ambience'.
Yu confirmed that there had been no public consultation on the plan, with the last meetings that were held in 2003 dealing only with a previous plan that was later rejected.
However, she still supports the seafront proposal.
'Especially in the holidays, the main street is squeezed and even vehicles cannot pass by,' Yu said. 'An ambulance could take at least five to 10 minutes to go from the clinic to the pier. With emergency vehicle access, it [would] take no more than 30 seconds.'
These remarks outraged many Lamma residents, who said they had never been properly consulted about the scale of the reclamation project.
Aside from Yu - who ran uncontested in the previous district council vote four years ago - two challengers are running for the Lamma and Po Toi seat: Damon Wong Chun-pong, a member of both the League of Social Democrats and the Land Justice League, and independent candidate Paul Lau.
Wong joked that since some of his posters and banners had a tick to signify a yes vote on them, he could now be the police's prime suspect.
But he said he could understand Yu's annoyance with the vandalism. 'There are other legitimate ways of getting your point across than by doing this kind of thing,' he said.
Some of Lau's banners had also been defaced and comments were written on them accusing him of splitting the vote.
Lamma-Gung, the editor of daily community website Lamma-Zine, said residents were generally disappointed by the graffiti.
'People think that it's inappropriate and uncalled for,' he said. 'It's really bad for the political process here.'
Police said a total of 12 banners and three posters belonging to candidates were found damaged. Crime investigations by the divisional support team in Cheung Chau are already under way.
The candidates contesting seats: 839
The polling stations: 477(25 in prisons) open from 7.30am to 10.30pm
The voters: 2.9m eligible
What each can spend campaigning: HK$ 53,800
What they are standing for:
18 district councils comprising
412 elected members (76 seats uncontested) and 95 appointed and ex-officio members
Salary: HK$ 20,290 a month
Miscellaneous expenses: HK$ 4,120a month
Their term: 4 years from January 1
Election inquiry hotline: 28911001
Source: District Councils websites