Festering dispute ready to explode

JUDO Hong Kong is bracing for another legal battle with former president Samson Mak Yiu-cheung threatening to take the association to court if he is banned from seeking election in the annual meeting on April 23.

Mak, who was ousted from power in re-elections after a year-long court battle last May, tendered his nomination for presidency but it was rejected by the incumbent executive committee led by Cyril Wong Siu-ming.

'I've handed in my nomination form before the March 17 deadline and I have not been officially notified by the association on whether it has been accepted or rejected,' said Mak, who led the Hong Kong Judo Association for nine years.

'As far as I am concerned I am still a candidate for presidency, but unofficially I've been told by friends that my name is not on the nomination list. I shall be attending the annual meeting and then see what happens.' HKJA chairman Wong confirmed they had received Mak's papers but said the former president is not eligible for the election because his HKJA membership was rescinded last June.

Mak lost his membership for alleged misconduct during his term in office, including spending association funds on translation and transcript of records used as evidence in the court battle.

He was also alleged to have 'illegally' spent HKJA money to finance his trip to the World Championships in Canada in October 1993 when the two parties were still involved in their legal war.

However, Mak denied any wrongdoing and said it was unfair of the present executive committee to annul his membership once they took power, and without giving him a fair hearing.

He also said it was never in the HKJA by-laws that people running for office in the association have to be a member and the executive committee had no right to ban him from the elections.

To support his claim, Mak produced Article seven, Section two of the HKJA by-laws which states that nominations for any officer in the association must be made in writing by a voting member organisation.

Said Mak: 'It's not in the by-laws that an office-bearer must be a member. I have every right to run for presidency because I was nominated by a voting member organisation of the HKJA, the Fu Shin Judo Club.

'There have been many past presidents who were not members of the HKJA nor were they actively involved in judo whereas I am in charge of four existing judo clubs.

'Besides, a president is only a figurehead of the association and is not involved in administration matters, so I don't see why they should bar me from the election.' Wong, however, is adamant Mak is not eligible to participate in the election and said: 'We've decided to reject Mak's nomination because he is not an existing member of the association.

'It would be absurd for any organisation to allow anybody to come in and hold a top position when he or she is not even a member of the body.

'Mak can do whatever he likes but our decision is final and he will not be allowed to run for any office position.' Incumbent president Jason Cheng Chiu-ming is the only other nominee for the presidency and would therefore automatically retain the post for another two years.

Two other unopposed incumbent office bearers are Chinese secretary Lui Hon-wah and English secretary Tsoi Chi-yin.

But there appears to be growing disharmony within the existing hierarchy who were voted into office en bloc at the re-election ordered by the High Court last May.

Vice-chairman Lee Chung-tai and existing executive committee member Cheung Wing-lock are running against incumbents Chan Hung-wai, David Yu Wing-chung and Chan Siu-shing for the three vice-president posts.

Treasurer Pang Shu-fong will be challenged by Pang Yui-chan while former Hong Kong international judoka Au Woon-yiu is seeking to oust Yeung Luen-lin as membership secretary.

Incumbents seeking another term of office in the nine-strong executive committee are chairman Cyril Wong, Cheung Kam-hoi, Ho Bor-chuen, Kan Wing-nin, Li Hung, Ngan Kam-lai and Wong Po-kee.

Running against them are five newcomers - Siu Tak-wong, Chen Shing-kin, Leung Wai-keung, Man Lai-kwan and Yim Kai-shan.