Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Chan Hoi-yan sworn in as new Hong Kong lawmaker – and then manages to get on wrong side of security with family photo op

  • Lawmakers’ assistants or visitors not allowed onto certain floors of Legco complex while there is an ongoing meeting
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2018, 4:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2018, 10:12pm

Hong Kong’s newest lawmaker Chan Hoi-yan ran into a hiccup on her first day in office when trying to pose for a photo with her family outside an ongoing meeting on Wednesday.

The incident happened after Chan was sworn in as a member of the Legislative Council in the morning.

After meeting media outside the Legco chamber on the first floor of the complex, Chan’s assistant led the new lawmaker’s family – mother, father and husband – along for a photo.

The pro-establishment lawmaker and her family were soon told by Legco security that they were not allowed to continue and moved outside the complex for the shot.

According to Legco rules, lawmakers’ assistants are not allowed onto the first or second floor of the complex while there is an ongoing meeting.

Also, under the rules, lawmakers’ visitors are not allowed to enter floors with ongoing meetings, except for entering public galleries on the second and third floor of the complex.

Legco’s secretariat said the incident was caused by miscommunication between Chan and a security guard, but it did not elaborate.

“After the incident, the secretariat explained to Chan the relevant rules,” it said.

Chan won Sunday’s Legco by-election by bagging 106,457 votes, or 49.5 per cent of the total in the Kowloon West geographical constituency. Her rival, Labour Party stalwart Lee Cheuk-yan from the pan-democratic camp, secured 93,047 – or 43.3 per cent – of the vote. The loss of the Kowloon West seat means the pro-democracy camp will be outnumbered 25 to 43 in Legco.

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Before Wednesday’s incident, Chan told media that she intended to use her time constructively in the legislature, given her term was for less than two years.

“We can be constructive in a short amount of time, but one day is too many, if we were to be destructive,” Chan said.

Chan, who was political assistant to former health minister Dr Ko Wing-man, said she would focus on health care and housing issues.

Before Chan took office, critics called into question a front-page report published on Sunday in the free pro-Beijing daily Ta Kung Pao, saying it was formatted like an advertisement.

The full-page coverage featured Chan’s campaign under the headline: “Prosperity relies on your vote” with a graphic listing her manifesto and a tick next to each bullet point, and a big number 5, referring to her candidate number.

Hongkongers care about livelihood issues, not ideology, democrats told

Her rival Lee said on Tuesday he would consider reporting the matter to the city’s graft-busters, the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

While Chan refused to say on Wednesday if she was worried that the issue could threaten her seat, she insisted her campaign team had nothing to do with Ta Kung Pao report.

“If they think this is inappropriate … they can talk to the ICAC, I respect their follow-up action,” Chan said. “We didn’t advertise in any newspaper.”

The new lawmaker also said the by-election campaign was the most challenging and toughest task she has ever attempted. Chan thanked her family and allies for support.