The founder of a dog rescue charity has been narrowly beaten for the title of Hong Kong Person of the Year after a suspected campaign by rival animal-lovers. Sally Andersen of Hong Kong Dog Rescue was told by RTHK's English-language station Radio 3 on December 30 that she had topped the annual online and e-mail poll, and was invited to yesterday morning's Backchat show to be announced as the winner. With a little over 24 hours to go before polls closed at midnight on New Year's Eve, she was told she was so far ahead she could not be caught - but then there was a flurry of voting for the anticipated runner-up, Nobel physics laureate Dr Charles Kao Kuen. Yesterday, as she made her way to the Kowloon Tong studio, Backchat presenter Hugh Chiverton phoned Andersen to tell her that after the last e-mail votes were counted she had been beaten into second place by just two votes. Andersen appears to have been toppled by a rush of votes in the final minutes of the two-week poll. Supporters monitoring the online vote said she had 44 per cent of votes, compared with Kao's 20 per cent, as late as 10.35pm on December 31. By midnight, however, a surge of votes had swung the poll in Kao's favour with 30 per cent, to 29 per cent for Andersen. The rest of the 12-strong shortlist, including US President Barack Obama, Premier Wen Jiabao and Michael Jackson, lagged far behind. Andersen, who is fighting for funding to relocate her dog rescue operation from Pok Fu Lam to the New Territories, said: 'I think something was definitely organised against me because so many of the votes came in just before the midnight deadline. 'Winning RTHK Person of the Year isn't exactly like winning the Nobel Peace Prize and I have to say the winner is very deserving, but I do think it's a shame when people do something which is a bit naughty like this.' Without saying who she thought was behind the late voting campaign, Andersen said: 'There are definitely factions within the animal welfare world who would have preferred not to see me win.' Advance news of Andersen's anticipated win was shared with executives from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who were also invited on December 30, at Andersen's suggestion, to participate in yesterday's Backchat programme. But SPCA executive director Sandy McAllister insisted his members were in no way connected to any voting campaign. 'Most people here would have voted for Sally. We support her in many ways,' he said. Chiverton said: 'It was a very exciting poll and Charles Kao is a very worthy winner.'