26 October 2016
First-time candidates Chui Chi-kin (left) and To Ka-lun (right) defeat veteran incumbents in Sunday's district polls. Photos: Facebook
First-time candidates Chui Chi-kin (left) and To Ka-lun (right) defeat veteran incumbents in Sunday's district polls. Photos: Facebook

Nine pro-democracy newbies defeat veteran pols: Why they won

Nine first-time candidates beat veteran incumbents in Sunday’s district council elections, showing that citizens are anxious to see changes in the city.

All the nine winners had supported the 79-day pro-democracy protests last year, Apple Daily reported on Tuesday.

Although media hardly paid attention to these “David versus Goliath” battles in constituencies across the territory, they highlight the people’s clamor for change, which also could be gleaned from the record voter turnout rate of 47 percent, the newspaper said.

First-timer Chui Chi-kin, 48, defeated long-time councilor Christopher Chung Shu-kun from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong in Yue Wan constituency in Eastern District.

He attributed his victory to relentless industry, including seven-days-a-week campaign and visiting the homes of more than 2,000 voters.

Chui said he decided to run the election right before the deadline for filing of candidacy as he did not want to see Chung automatically elected.

His efforts paid off, even though his father once told him he was “out of your mind” to challenge a long-time politician.

Chui only had six weeks to campaign, while his rival had been serving the constituency for 21 years. 

Voters complained that Chung, while having occupied his council seat for more than two decades, seldom reached out to the grassroots.

While these voters said they were happy to see Chung lose, Chui told media in interviews that he hoped citizens would devote more time in community affairs, and not just in festivals and parades.

Chui said the middle-aged generation, which includes himself, has been busy making money, but they should also do their bit in safeguarding the city’s core values.

To Ka-lun, 56, another newbie and supporter of the Umbrella Movement, beat 27-year veteran Yau Tai-tai in the Fairview Park constituency in Yuen Long.

To said his election win showed that citizens who value democracy have the power to effect changes as long as they are willing to step forward and let their voices be heard.

Other new faces in the district councils include Wong Chi-ken of the Lok Wah North constituency in Kwun Tong, Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying of Tai Hang in Wan Chai, Kwong Po-yin of Whampoa West in Kowloon City, Lau Yung-wai of Old Market & Serenity constituency in Tai Po, Wong Hok-lai of Chung Tin in Sha Tin, Wong Chun-sing of Tai Koo Shing East, and Lai-Tsz Yan of Wong Uk in Sha Tin.

Ho Chi-kwan, a visiting professor at the Caritas Institute of Higher Education who once offered to help in Chui’s campaign, said pro-democracy newbies won in many areas long controlled by the pro-establishment camp because the latter had become complacent and failed to do a good job in their constituencies.

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