The Democrat stronghold of Tuen Mun is facing an unprecedented challenge from the DAB. In a bid to cash-in on the landmark success of Tam Yiu-chung in New Territories West in last year's Legco polls, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) has raised its number of district council candidates from four in 1994 to 16 this year. Of the 29 seats up for grabs, seven are head-to-head clashes with the Democrats. Luk Tak-shing, vice-chairman of the DAB's Tuen Mun branch, said the party had attracted more people to join since the 1994 election as people saw its achievements. Only two of the four DAB hopefuls were elected in 1994, although three independent winners later joined the party. Democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan said he welcomed the challenge. Standing against non-aligned She Chi-keung in Lok Tsui, the heavyweight lawmaker said the outcome of the ballots would show which party was more popular in Tuen Mun. He was confident of winning his own seat, not because of his Legco background but because of his achievements in the district. Unlike in other districts, the Democrats and the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) have avoided fighting each other in the face of the DAB threat. The Democrats have fielded 12 hopefuls while the ADPL has put up seven. The two pro-democracy factions denied it was a compromise. Describing the situation as a coincidence, Yim Tin-sang of the ADPL said Tuen Mun was the party's 'second base' following Shamshuipo. The veteran councillor is taking on independent Chan Siu-ying in Siu Hei constituency. Parties are likely to appeal to housewives, who politicians say will play an important role in Tuen Mun. Nineteen of the 52 candidates are women, the largest number in all 18 districts. Democrat Josephine Chan Shu-ying, one of the five female incumbent district board members, said: 'Tuen Mun is an isolated area and the women's employment rate remains pretty low. Men go out to work early in the morning and get back late, and women mostly stay in the area. That's why they are more involved in the district.' She is being challenged in Siu Hong by Tong Sek-ping, a company director campaigning under the DAB banner.