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In a humorous tone, a Hong Kong-based van calling app has decided to charge an extra HK$20 to users who request vans to a constituency where a pro-Beijing camp candidate beat an “umbrella soldier” in the District Council election on Sunday.

“Since the latest data shows that more than half of the residents in Whampoa East have eyesight problems, and that the rat problem in the district has been persistent, we will charge an extra HK$20 for all orders into Whampoa East for safety and disinfection, effective today.” CALL4VAN wrote on their Facebook page.

In the Whampoa East constituency, pro-Beijing Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) party lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun beat Youngspiration’s Yau Wai-ching by 2,345 to 2,041. The other candidate, Law Shek-ming, received 596 votes. Leung has been dubbed “The Rat Queen” when she launched a campaign to exterminate the rats in Mong Kok back in March 2008.

Yau Wai-ching (left) and Priscilla Leung (right).
Yau Wai-ching (left) and Priscilla Leung (right). File

The company also wrote that customers who wanted to be exempt from the charge should call them, saying they have “tried hard to exterminate the rats.”

Yau, a 24-year-old candidate, has been dubbed “Goddess” by her supporters. Yau’s election campaign was mainly targeting Leung, which some of her supporters described as a “rat extermination” campaign.

Youngspiration is a group of candidates formed in the wake of last year’s pro-democracy Occupy demonstrations. They are often called “umbrella soldiers” for their support of the protests, also known as the umbrella movement.

CALL4VAN was also known for its support of the protests and certain “umbrella soldier” candidates. In the Facebook post, more than a hundred people voiced their support for the company’s action.

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.