Get set for exciting battles in the new Legco

September 06, 2016 16:39
A 90-year-old supporter gives fresh vegetables to Eddie Chu (standing, left) to celebrate the latter's victory in the Legco election. The picture on the right shows Lau Siu-lai, another newly-elected lawmaker. Credit: Facebook/dickpatheung,

Expect a lot of interesting battles and plenty of drama in the Legislative Council after October 1, when a new crop of lawmakers will make their way into the house.

The victory of a new generation of opposition activists in Sunday's election brings all sorts of possibilities to the new legislature in terms of confrontations between rival camps.

Young political stars such as Nathan Law and Yau Wai-ching will not only breathe fresh air into the Legco, they will also teach some lessons to old-line democrats in taking on establishment groups.

The energetic new kids on the block have helped bring down the average age of our lawmakers to below 50, injecting vigor and vitality to the legislature.

The newbies, many of whom support localism or self-determination for Hong Kong, will have the firepower as well as creativity to oppose unpopular bills via filibustering and other activities.

The new legislature will have 20 members under the age of 40, with some even below 30.

Nathan Law, former Occupy student leader, is just 23 while Yau Wai-ching of localist group Youngspiration is only 25. Another winner, Leung Chung-hang, is 30.

The youngsters will vastly outnumber senior citizens -- those aged 65 and above -- in the new 70-member legislature.

In case you are wondering, the elders list is made up of Abraham Shek (71), Tommy Cheung (67), Wong Ting-kwong (67), Regina Ip (66), and Jeffrey lam, Andrew Leung and Michael Tien (all 65).

Some new lawmakers have already made their plans clear as to what issues they will take up and the fights they are prepared for after October.

Take a look at Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, the independent candidate who scored a record win in the Sunday election.

The 39-year-old has vowed to stand up against the Heung Yee Kuk, or Rural Council, and fight collusion between the government, rural forces and triads in the New Territories.

Having made his name through years of environmental activism and taking on powerful interests, Chu said he was stalked by a Yuen Long landlord on the day of voting.

He also revealed that he had sought police protection after receiving a call from a village chief who asked him to stop intervening in some matter.

A social activist who made headlines in a fight to save the old Star Ferry pier in 2005, Chu was once a Ming Pao reporter who loved investigative reporting.

An equally persistent activist is Lau Siu-lai, a lecturer at Polytechnic University’s Hong Kong Community College, who has vowed to fight for the rights of hawkers.

The popular lady, who is aged 40, had been an open critic of Link REIT, which is one of Hong Kong's biggest landlords, and has been a champion of street markets.

Early this year, Lau was fined HK$1,800 for selling fried squid on Kweilin Street in Sham Shui Po.

The government has faced several questions over Link REIT as the shopping mall and car park operator has been raising rents beyond reasonable levels and hurting low-end retailers.

It will be up to Lau to take the fight further and try to rein in the profit-centric landlord.

Like Nathan Law and Yau Wai-ching, Lau was active in the Umbrella Movement in 2014, setting up a workshop in Civic Square.

Among the other new lawmakers, there is Leung Chung-hang, who served as a proxy for Edward Leung Tin-kei after the latter was barred from the election for his pro-independence stance.

Having won the election with the support of Edward Leung, Leung Chung-hang can be counted on to raise contentious issues related to Hong Kong's future. 

It will be interesting to see how the two Leungs work together to make their cases.

The Legco battle will be exciting, given that another Leung -- radical lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung -- has also made it to the new legislature, albeit by the skin of his teeth.

We can't wait to watch all the Leungs take on another namesake -- Hong Kong's Chief Executive CY Leung.

-- Contact us at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer