The pan-democratic camp’s replacement for Agnes Chow Ting in the Legislative Council by-elections scheduled for March 11 has been given the green light to run, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Au Nok-hin, a member of the Southern District Council who was the opposition’s “Plan B” choice, filed his application with the Registration and Electoral Office to join the Legco by-election for a seat in the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency after Chow, its first choice, was barred from running on Saturday for advocating Hong Kong self-determination.
Au did not receive confirmation of his candidacy from the returning officer in charge of the constituency until 8.p.m. on Wednesday, two days after the nominations closed.
Au said it is a basic human right to stand for election but the government had intentionally tried to create invisible pressure through self-censorship.
Criticizing the government for depriving Hong Kong people of such right by making threats, Au called on the public to express their discontent bravely so as to protect the city’s system and rule of law.
Meanwhile, two more prospective candidates have been disqualified from running in the by-elections. They are Ventus Lau Wing-hong, former spokesman of the localist group Community Network Union, and retired dentist Johnny Ma Kam-chuen.
Lau said he received an email from returning officer Amy Chan Yuen-man, who is in charge of the New Territories East constituency, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday that his nomination was invalid.
In the email, the officer said Lau is obviously reluctant to give up his Hong Kong independence stance as evidenced by his Facebook post last month.
In that post, according to returning officer Chan, Lau said that his eloquence and charisma were not comparable to those of Edward Leung Tin-kei, another localist leader who was disqualified from running in the Legco by-elections, and that all he could do was step up to the challenge at this difficult moment.
The officer said Lau’s post clearly showed that he wanted to succeed or replace two prominent independence activists, Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Edward Leung. She also cited online media reports saying Lau was supported by Sixtus Leung to run in the by-elections.
As such, Chan said, she did not believe Lau’s intentions to uphold the Basic Law and disqualified him as a result.
Lau declared late last year that he no longer supported independence, but Chan said he said that only in consideration of the “political reality”.
In response to the decision, Lau said it would be very scary if one who had advocated independence will be barred from standing for election for life.
He said he would discuss with his team what to do next, including the option of filing an election petition, and vowed to pursue the fight.
Ma, on the other hand, was reportedly disqualified for nominating himself, and also because the personal data from people who had nominated him were illegible.
Meanwhile, James Chan Kwok-keung, a member of Sha Tin District Council who is considered a localist, had not received confirmation of his candidacy as of Wednesday.
The Electoral Affairs Commission was scheduled to hold a briefing session for by-election candidates on Thursday night.
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