The battle between officials and some indigenous residents over controversial rural polls is set to stretch across Asia to Europe. Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping is expected to lobby emigre indigenous residents for support during a visit to London in December. The minister is expected to take the opportunity to explain government policies on village elections and rural affairs to indigenous residents there, his spokesman said. 'While details of the visit are still being worked out, it will be around the first half of December. It will coincide with a gathering by indigenous residents in London,' the spokesman said. Dr Ho would also meet industrialists and sports and cultural leaders in London to study the development of the entertainment industry, he added. In July, some local indigenous residents flew to Europe to lobby emigres for support, as well as to raise funds for planned court action against the government following the introduction of the Village Representative Elections Bill to the Legislative Council. The emigres' support might not be very significant but they could press local indigenous villagers to back down. The Association of New Territories Indigenous Residents, which is leading the fight against the government's village poll arrangements, has rejected Dr Ho's lobbying as a joke. The association's general secretary, Wanko Tang Tsun-wan, said: 'We have done the lobbying long before and won the support of the overseas indigenous residents.' Earlier, the Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat also flew to London to lobby emigres there, but had not been successful, said Mr Tang. The association has been battling against the new electoral system, which ends the exclusive voting rights traditionally enjoyed by indigenous villagers. It is also seeking legal advice to take the case to court, and claims the new arrangements are in breach of the Basic Law, which protects the traditional rights of indigenous residents. Under the system, which gives indigenous villagers two votes, village polls will be split into two parts. One part is exclusively for indigenous villagers, while the other is a 'general election' for all village residents.