INDEPENDENT candidate Chan Kai-yung, 55, arrived at Sha Tin Government Office at 4 am to ensure he would be first to register his nomination. He said his canvassing agent had suggested he turn up first, because ''it would give me luck''. Mr Chan, elected a board member in 1981 in the territory's maiden direct election, said then there had been only a few people waiting when the office opened. Yesterday, groups of party representatives waving banners and party logos were waiting for the doors to open. The canvassing teams, more than 30 on average, were dressed in uniforms. Another veteran member of the Sha Tin board, independent Lau Kwong-wah, expected competition to be much keener this year. Yesterday's registration of more than 400 candidates was generally polite and orderly. In the Eastern district office, for example, candidates from different parties were busy shaking hands with each other. But in Kwun Tong, the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong's (DAB) vice-chairman, Tam Yiu-chung, refused to shake hands with Meeting Point's Fred Li Wah-ming and United Democrat Szeto Wah, who accompanied their representatives to register. United Democrat chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming admitted there would be intense competition between the democrats and pro-China groups. ''The fight will be much fiercer in the Eastern district, especially in Heng Fa Chuen,'' he said. The DAB will have an incumbent member standing in Heng Fa Chuen, as will the United Democrats. Mr Lee predicted the DAB would put much more effort into this year's poll than the pro-China forces did in 1991. ''Some candidates are hiding their identity as party members,'' he said.