PROMINENT pro-China politician Lo Tak-shing last night admitted he had to give up his seat on the crucial political affairs sub-group of Beijing's new body on Hongkong affairs to make way for others. Mr Lo was one of the few who expressed interest in joining, but he failed to become a member of the political sub-group of the Preliminary Working Committee (PWC) for the Special Administrative Region Preparatory Committee. Speaking on his return to the territory, the former executive and legislative councillor - who now publishes Window magazine - said he lost out because Beijing asked him to join the legal and law-and-order sub-groups instead. ''Everyone can only join two groups. Both the legal and law-and-order sub-groups did not have enough members. They [the Chinese side] pleaded very hard for me to join them, so I joined them,'' he explained. ''I had chosen the political sub-group as my first choice,'' he admitted. But Mr Lo denied he was disappointed at failing to make it on to the group. ''Someone has to do this work,'' he said. The Hongkong affairs adviser was widely thought to be one of the leading candidates to be Hongkong's first Chief Executive after 1997. Further political sub-group meetings are to be held in September and at the end of the year, according to former executive and legislative councillor Rita Fan Tsui Lai-tai, who also returned to the territory last night. Another political sub-group member, Professor Lau Siu-kai of Chinese University, said the task of all sub-groups this year was to draft agendas and working schedules for approval by the full PWC session in Beijing in December. Mr Lau said the venue for the sub-group meeting had yet to be finalised, while Mrs Fan said Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Beijing had all been suggested. Mrs Fan, also Hongkong convenor of the law-and-order sub-group, said it would discuss the status of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), and its role in tasks such as arresting illegal immigrants after 1997. But she added the group would not consider the sites where the PLA should be located, as that was the task of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group. Another controversial member, former Appeal Court judge Simon Li Fook-sean, last night refused to comment on a possible libel case against him, in the wake of his reported remarks that four legislators - including United Democrats Martin Lee Chu-ming andSzeto Wah - were ineligible to ride the through train. More PWC members are expected to arrive back in the territory today.