Rising young Hong Kong politician Holden Chow joins Legislative Council by-election fray

Vice-chairman of city’s main pro-Beijing party will take on pan-democrats in fight for seat vacated by Ronny Tong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 January, 2016, 10:46pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 January, 2016, 10:46pm

A vice-chairman of Hong Kong’s biggest political party, Holden Chow Ho-ding, is to stand in next month’s Legislative Council by-election in what is widely seen as a showdown between the pan-democracy and pro-Beijing camps.

“It is time to get Hong Kong back on the right track,” said the 36-year-old lawyer in an address attended by fellow members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and leaders of other pro-Beijing groups and parties.

In a reference to the Occupy protests in 2014 and filibustering by pan-democrats in the Legislative Council, he said: “If you are fed up with all of these, this is time for you to make a change.”

Chow, who won a seat in Islands district council in November’s district level elections, is also tipped to contest the “super seat” in the Legislative Council polls, expected to be held in September, which involves the 3.2 million electors who do not vote in other functional constituencies.

Yesterday’s event included leaders from the Federation of Trade Unions, New People’s Party and the Business and Professionals Alliance, but there was no one from the Liberal Party or Heung Yee Kuk rural body.

There is speculation that the two groups, considered part of the pro-Beijing camp, could also run in the February 28 by-election, triggered by Ronny Tong Ka-wah’s resignation from Legco and the Civic Party in the wake of last summer’s failed political reform package.

Independent Sai Kung district councillor Christine Fong Kwok-shan, formerly with the Liberals, also declared her candidacy and offered voters “a third road”.

Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, chairman of the Civic Party’s New Territories East branch, announced last month that he would stand.

The New Territories East constituency is widely regarded as a stronghold of pan-democrats. Of the nine seats in the constituency, six were won by pan-democrats in the last Legco elections in 2012. There are more than 940,000 electors in the constituency.

Middle-of-the-road party Third Side, which was formally launched yesterday, is expected to announce its by-election plan on Friday. Tik Chi-yuen, the former Democrat who chairs Third Side, said his party would be a platform for a cocktail of political views.

“We believe we can always find the right solution to a problem through talks and input from various stakeholders. We want to offer an alternative besides the die-hard anti-government camp and die-hard pro-government camp.”

Its leaders include vice-chairman Edwin Cheng Shing-lung, a former vice-chairman of New People’s Party, and Ben Kuen Ping-yiu, winner of a 2008 Outstanding Young Persons award.

Tik and another moderate, Nelson Wong Sing-chi, quit the Democratic Party last year after falling out on what strategy to adopt in the fight for democracy.