A Labour Party candidate won the Tai Po District Council by-election on Sunday in the first electoral contest between the pan-democratic and pro-Beijing camps since the end of the Umbrella Movement.

The winning candidate, Steven Kwok Wing-kin, received 1,392 votes in the San Fu constituency and became the first Labour Party member to become a district councillor.

Kwok Wing-kin. Photo: Apple Daily.


Posted by Siu Kit Alex Kwok on Sunday, 19 July 2015

Kwok ran against two candidates who described themselves as independents, Ho Man-kit and Lo Hiu-fung. Kwok won the election with a slight margin of less than 300 votes over each of the other candidates.

The by-election was triggered when the former district councillor, Lo Shun-chuen, was sentenced to five months in jail in April after he was convicted of making false claims for operating expenses. Hong Kong laws specify that district councillors who are sentenced to more than three months in jail lose their seats immediately.

Lo was a member of the pro-Beijing Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong.

Lo Shun-chuen. Photo: Apple Daily.

Lo Hiu-fung, a candidate running for the seat, was the son of the convicted councillor Lo Shun-chuen.

Lo Hiu-fung (right). Photo: InMediahk.

The election came under spotlight all over Hong Kong as it was the first voting contest between pro-Beijing and pan-democratic supporters since the end of the Umbrella Movement last December.

Despite labeling himself as independent, Ho Man-kit was backed by pro-Beijing legislators during the by-election. Various lawmakers, including Michael Tien Puk-sun and Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee from New People’s Party, as well as Tam Yiu-chung and Starry Lee Wai-king from Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), were seen canvassing for Ho.

Michael Tien and Ho Man-kit (second right). Photo: 何萬傑, via Facebook.
Ho Man-kit (left) with Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee. Photo: 何萬傑, via Facebook.

Lawmakers from different pan-democratic parties have also shown their support for Kwok during the election. They include “Longhair” Leung Kwok-hung from League of Social Democrats, Claudia Mo Man-ching from Civic Party, and Emily Lau Wai-hing from Democratic Party.

Claudia Mo Man-ching with Kwok Wing Kin (middle). Photo: Tam Chun Yin, via Facebook.
Leung Kwok-hung with Kwok Wing-kin. Photo: Kwok Wing-kin, via Facebook.

The voting results were announced after midnight on Monday. Election officials said that 3,680 voters, or 42.55% of all registered voters, cast their ballots in the by-election.

Photo: InMediahk, via Facebook.

Kwok’s term will only last until December 31 this year. A territory-wide District Council election will be held on November 22 to elect all district councillors for a four-year term beginning in 2016.

Photo: InMediahk, via Facebook.

Eric Cheung

Eric is currently a Bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Hong Kong. Eric has his finger on the pulse of Hong Kong events and politics. His work has been published on The Guardian, Reuters and ABC News (America).