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A group of seven people running in the coming district council election have put yellow ribbons – a symbol of the pro-democracy Occupy protest or umbrella movement last year – on their campaign pamphlets, but they are being criticised by groups that supported the protest as “fake umbrella soldiers” who aimed at snatching votes from other pro-democracy camp candidates.

A new Facebook page “New Youth Group” was started on September 18. Deep Li Chak-sum, one of the members of the group running in the Nam Fung constituency of the Eastern District, has put a yellow ribbon on his campaign pamphlet, which reads “Say no to the wolf [Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying], pro-Beijing camp and fake democracy,” and his group are “against the pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camp controlling the district council and exploiting people’s rights.”

Li Chak-sum (left) and Lam Chung-shing (right).
Li Chak-sum (left) and Lam Chung-shing (right). and Stand News.

Six other people of the group running in the election shared similar or identical sets of pamphlets. They shared phone numbers for people to contact them through whatsapp or wechat.

Umbrella Unity, a group which supported the Occupy protest, has said on their Facebook page that the members of the group were “fake umbrella soldiers”, not to be confused with those who decided to run in the district council election after joining the protest.

Li will challenge incumbent Democratic Party district councillor Cheung Kwok-cheong. Cheung won by 889 votes in the last election in 2011.

New Youth Group posted a message on its page today that said, “If we wanted to snatch votes from the pan-democrats, we would only target the pro-Beijing camp, not both camps. Therefore, how can we snatch votes from pan-democrats?”

Lau Pak-tong (left) and Wan Tsz-fung (right)
Lau Pak-tong (left) and Wan Tsz-fung (right). Photo: Stand News.

The message today also read that they were “harassed by pan-democrats” and “threatened by several young people who claimed to be triad members, we believe it was harassment by the pro-Beijing camp,” after local media reported them as “fake umbrella soldiers.”

Andrew Chiu Ka-yin, convener of the group Power for Democracy, which coordinates pan-democrat candidates for the election, told Apple Daily that the members of the New Youth Group – which he also dubbed “fake umbrella soldiers” – never showed up during the period of coordination: “They know exactly what they are doing, and the people who support democracy have clear eyes [to distinguish them from others].”

Li was also accused of being a triad member, after netizens on HKGolden forum found a Next Magazine report last year saying a person with the same name as him was jailed for nine months for claiming to be a triad member.

Winnie Wun Kei-yan (left) and Vannie Poon (right)
Winnie Wun Kei-yan (left) and Vannie Poon (right). Photo: Facebook/Umbrella Unity.

Li told HKFP that he was never jailed, and that the accusation was wrong as “Cap 547 District Councils Ordinance 21(e) said with details that a person is disqualified from being nominated as a candidate at an election, and from being elected as an elected member, if the person has been convicted in Hong Kong or any other place, of an offence for which the person has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term exceeding 3 months.”

Chan Pak-lun. Photo: Facebook/Umbrella Unity.

Cheung Kwok-cheong told HKFP, “I am too busy campaigning for the election, I have no idea about him except he is running in the district.”

Yang Mo, who was an appointed district councillor of the Southern District and considered pro-Beijing, was another candidate nominated in the district.

Winnie Wun Kei-yan of the group will challenge incumbent Democratic Party district councillor Henry Chai Man-hon in the Wah Fu North constituency of the Southern District. Chai won by 423 votes in the last election.

Chai told HKFP, “I urge voters to vote for the pan-democracy camp candidates designated by our coordination mechanism, so that we can beat the pro-Beijing camp.”

Wong Choi-lap of pro-Beijing DAB Party and independent candidate Law Yuet-wah were also nominated in the district.

Correction 17:50: An earlier version of this wrongly stated that eight New Youth Group members will run for the district elections.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.