A Liberal Party candidate is withdrawing from the Sept. 4 Legislative Council elections, saying he fears for the safety of his family.
Chow Wing-kan made the shocking announcement during a televised debate on Thursday in which he revealed unspecified threats.
He said his biggest fear is that he might not be able to protect his family and people close to him, adding he feels helpless, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Under the rules, candidates are not allowed to withdraw after their candidacy has been confirmed.
Liberal Party chairman Felix Chung said he was shocked by Chow’s decision.
Chow said he had received a WhatsApp message that 30 people are set to attack him after the debate.
He later released the Whatsapp voice recording to the media.
A male voice is heard saying “we’ll first pursue and attack Chow Wing-kan and then wear vests to support Junius Ho. At the end of the debate, we’ll attack Chow Wing-kan again. That is the plan.”
Earlier Chow criticized Ho, a Tuen Mun district councilor he was running against in New Territories West, for proposing to include Leung Tin Village in Tuen Mun in the list of eligible villages under the New Territories Small House Policy.
The controversial policy, introduced by the British colonial government in 1972, allows an indigenous male villager who is 18 and above to build one small house in his lifetime on a New Territories land grant.
The policy has been opposed by a large segment of the Hong Kong population for being unfair and also for encouraging corruption.
Ho hit back by accusing Chow of playing the victim card.
Speaking on a radio program on Friday morning, Ho admitted the audio clip came from an internal discussion among his supporters.
But he denied any knowledge of the planned attack, according to RTHK.
Ho questioned whether Chow’s decision was an election strategy, adding the latter should have sought help from the police if he felt threatened.
Chow was seen in tears as he refused to answer questions from the media. He was reportedly planning to leave Hong Kong Friday afternoon
Meanwhile news and entertainment magazine E Media+ reported that Chow was offered HK$5 million cash and a possible position in the government to withdraw from the race.
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