A prominent Hong Kong rural power broker who previously declared he would retire from public service is now planning to stay put. Leung Fuk-yuen, 62, known as “Uncle McDonald” for his pompadour hairstyle, has had second thoughts about his retirement plans and said he wanted to continue serving the community by running for a district council by-election in his Yuen Long stronghold. Leung’s about-face came in the wake of an intensification of the power struggle in the rural areas in the New Territories. There has recently been an outbreak of violence, and threats against a representative in another district, Fanling, during the current rural committee elections have police on alert. Leung said in an interview with the Post last April that he would call time on his political career, partly for the sake of “rejuvenating rural politics”. Village vandalism prompts police to investigate whether triads are trying to influence Hong Kong elections He stepped down as Tai Tong village head, a post he had held since 1991, which means he will eventually have to surrender his rural committee chairmanship and his ex officio membership of Yuen Long district council, as well as his place on the Heung Yee Kuk, a powerful rural body that represents the interests of New Territories villagers. But he will still retain a role in the Kuk as a “permanent adviser” from June, by virtue of his long-term service on the rural committee. His son, Nicky Leung Chi-fung, succeeded him uncontested in January as the village head of Tai Tong. As part of an “internal co-ordination” among a coterie of local rural leaders, the younger Leung was also installed as the vice-chairman of Shap Pat Heung rural committee in the March 14 election. The older Leung hopes to help guide his son as he embarks on a political career. Village head hopefuls must accept Hong Kong is inalienable part of China “I am not eating my words. I have always been open to opportunities of serving fellow clansmen and the community when I am still of use,” said Leung senior, “Nicky is still green in politics. I hope I can be able to work with him for some time and help him develop.” Nicky Leung, 38, said: “I hope to share some of the work of my father by taking up more rural affairs. As a younger member of the rural community, I think I can also act as a bridge between villagers and outsiders. I hope to be able to dispel the stereotype that village people are like uneducated barbarians.” Speaking of the pre-election “internal co-ordination”, the senior Leung said: “Politics is not only about elections, but also about consultations. Things can get more harmonious if we straighten them out ourselves, instead of competing with each other [in elections].” Nicky Leung concurred. “We indigenous villagers also want harmony and smooth transition. Infighting is the last thing we like to see.” Because of other shake-ups in the Shap Pat Heung rural committee, a by-election for Yuen Long district council will follow, offering a chance for the senior Leung to be re-elected as a district councillor, albeit in another constituency. Hong Kong’s rural committees must serve all residents, not just indigenous villagers Another of Leung’s sons, Jason Leung Ming-kin, is already a Yuen Long district councillor. Rural politics watcher Dr Bruce Kwong Kam-kwan, of the policy think-tank the Hong Kong Transition Project, said: “It is a game of musical chairs where none loses his seat. And the influence of his family in the Yuen Long area is expanding.” “Saying that the Leung family are trying to take control of Yuen Long politics is an overstatement. But if I can get back to the district council, the villagers’ voice is also louder,” the senior Leung argued.