Pro-democracy candidates have won all of the eight seats available in elections to the Social Workers Registration Board.

The election of the board member seats of the statutory body, which is held every three years, finished last Saturday. Candidates from two pro-democracy social workers groups have won the eight vacant seats, including two for Reclaiming Social Work Movement and six for Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union (HKSWGU).

Previously, suspicion was raised over the China Liaison Office’s interference with the election. It was reported that a candidate was contacted by its officials asking him if he needed help in the election.

Shiu Ka-chun Ken Tsang
Shiu Ka-chun (second from left) and Ken Tsang (third from left). Photo: Facebook/HKSWGU.

The turnout rate was about 28 percent, higher than the usual 15 to 20 percent. Shiu Ka-chun, who was host at the Admiralty main stage during last year’s pro-democracy Occupy protests, received 3,443 votes, the highest of all candidates. Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, who ran as a candidate of HKSWGU, received the second highest number with 2,425 votes.

The three candidates whom Shiu suspected to be of the pro-Beijing camp lost the election, receiving about 500 to 1,000 votes.

The Registration Board has 15 members: eight elected by social workers, six appointed by the government, and the Director of Social Welfare or his representative.

HKSWGU candidate Lun Chi-wai said at a press conference on Sunday that the high turnout rate of the election showed that the industry was more careful about pro-Beijing camp getting seats in the board, and that it hoped that more members of the board can be appointed through election.

Lun added that the government would be starting a war with social workers if it appointed unacceptable or defeated candidates to the board.

Shiu said that the last day of the election – December 12 – was the anniversary of the clearance of the Occupy protests in Admiralty, so the results of the election was especially meaningful, since protesters had said “we will be back.”

But he added that it was too early to decide whether he will run for the social work functional constituency seat of the Legislative Council next year.

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.