Macau chief executive Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on has suffered his first setback two days after being re-elected, with a so-called civil referendum finding that almost 90 per cent of residents do not trust him.
In the poll, organised by three pro-democracy groups, 7,762 Macau residents said they had no confidence in the sole candidate in the chief executive election. They represented 89 per cent of the 8,688 votes cast. Only 388 people - just under 5 per cent - said they trusted Chui, with 528 abstentions and 10 blank votes.
"This has shown that Macau residents are no longer staying silent and reluctantly accepting everything," said Sulu Sou Ka-hou, a key member of Macau Conscience, which organised the poll with Macau Youth Dynamics and Open Macau Society.
The results of the unofficial referendum, conducted from August 24 to Sunday, came after Chui won the one-horse race with 380 votes from the 400-strong election committee.
Sou said the result also proved that Chui's win would not help improve his credibility.
The organisers had earlier announced the results of another question asked in the poll, where 95 per cent of the voters - or 8,259 votes - were in favour of universal suffrage for the 2019 election.
Sou said the turnout in the referendum, which might seem lukewarm in a city with 624,000 people, was still "encouraging", given the heavy crackdown by the government.
Police shut down all five physical polling stations on the first day and detained five organisers on suspicion of breaching data-protection laws. Jason Chao Teng-hei, leader of Open Macau Society, has been placed under judicial investigation.
Two journalists working for Macau Concealers - an online medium operated by the city's most prominent pro-democracy group New Macau Association - were also detained by police last Friday after they uploaded a picture on the civil referendum webpage of what was thought to be a staff permit card bearing the Judiciary Police symbol. They were accused of illegally using the emblem of the Judiciary Police, the main police investigation arm.
Chao, chief of Macau Concealers, was also held by police after he returned to Macau from Hong Kong last Sunday as a suspect over the logo misuse.
Sou said the city's democrats would protest later against the police over their attempt to exhaust every means to attack the referendum. They would also continue to urge the government to start a new round of public consultation on political reform.