Overnight, a media officer for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has become internet famous after he was caught on camera raising his eyebrows incredulously as Leung declared his “transcendent” position over the three branches of government.

Anson Lai Yat-ching, assistant media director of the Chief Executive’s Office, was standing just a couple of metres away from Leung when the territory’s leader addressed reporters before departing on an Indonesian visit on Wednesday.

Transcendence. Photo: RTHK.

“All of Hong Kong’s powers come from the authorisation of the central government. The central government, in Hong Kong’s political system, only appoints the chief executive and principal officials nominated by the chief executive. For this reason, the chief executive’s position is indeed transcendent,” Leung said.

Lai was visibly taken aback by Leung’s comment, raising his eyebrows, tilting his head back and scanning the surrounding, as seen in video footage from Radio Television Hong Kong.

Lai’s reaction up-close. Photo: HKFP.

It was the second time Leung spoke publicly about his “special legal position” in Hong Kong after Beijing liaison official Zhang Xiaoming caused a stir by saying the SAR’s head official has overriding power over the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

Netizens applauded Lai’s “honest” reaction but some have also worried that his job might be in jeopardy after the video rapidly went viral.

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Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.