Police Commissioner Tsang Yam-pui last night was touted as a frontrunner to take over from Regina Ip. Mrs Ip's fellow minister Michael Suen Ming-yeung also was mentioned as a possible successor. Observers said although a background in the security arena and a tough style were not required to lead Hong Kong's disciplined services, whoever replaced Mrs Ip would have to have all-round political skills, given the need to 'sell' Article 23 legislation to a doubting public. Sources from political and government circles have indicated that one of the frontrunners is the police commissioner. The tough-talking Mr Tsang, 55, is due to retire from that post this year. In May, Mr Tsang said speculation about him taking over from Mrs Ip once he retired in December was groundless. He said he would be interested in pursuing a management job and would be willing to accept new challenges after retiring from the force. Mr Tsang has compared the legislation on Article 23 to an armoury - something which might not be used but would provide the necessary protection for the nation. He said there was no need for the public to worry, citing the existence of similar legislation overseas. Police officers who have worked with Mr Tsang said the commissioner would be suitable for security chief, pointing out he was competent and possessed interpersonal skills they believed would be useful in steering the National Security Bill into law. The fact Mr Tsang's elder brother, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, is chief secretary would be bound to raise eyebrows, just as observers questioned the implications of the top civil service and security force posts being held by the brothers when Tsang Yam-pui was promoted to head the force in 2000. Politicians suggested Mr Suen, the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, would be another possible candidate to succeed Mrs Ip. The career civil servant was noted for his polished political skills and pleasant character, they said. Mr Suen was asked recently whether he might take the job were Mrs Ip to leave her post. He responded by saying: 'If somebody suggested that you are suitable for it [handling the bill], they are setting a trap for you.' Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, professor of politics and public administration at City University, said both Mr Tsang and Mr Suen would be suitable candidates. 'Although Mr Tsang has a tough style because of his police background, it is normal for security ministers in foreign countries to be tough. It is true that his political skills are untested. There will be room for him to change from his previous hardline style once he retires from the force,' he said.