A district councillor from the “rural faction” of the pro-Beijing camp ousted a member of the camp’s biggest party to become chairman of Yuen Long District Council.

Lawyer Wilson Shum Ho-kit defeated Leung Che-cheung, a lawmaker with the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), who was chairman of the council for the previous two terms.

Shum, who represents the Shap Pat Heung East constituency, was supported by the Heung Yee Kuk. He beat Leung 22 to 18 in an anonymous vote.

The Heung Yee Kuk (“the Kuk”) was founded in 1926 to represent the interests of indigenous New Territories villagers.

Wilson Shum Ho-kit (left) and Leung Che-cheung (right).

Although Shum did not disclose any political affiliation, members of the rural faction were business partners with his father, Apple Daily reported.

Shum took over the Shap Pat Heung North constituency in 2011 from Leung Fuk-yuen, an ex-officio executive member of the Kuk.

There are 17 members supported by the Kuk in Yuen Long District Council. The majority of these supported Shum, who did not receive votes from other pro-Beijing parties such as the DAB, the Federation of Trade Unions and the New Territories Association of Societies, according to Apple Daily.

This suggests that five members from the pro-democracy camp may have supported Shum to oust Leung, who was said to be a hardliner in district council meetings.

Internal conflict

Shum refused to comment on the reason for Leung’s defeat, but told the newspaper that he was supported by the rural faction since he has been serving in the New Territories countryside for years.

“I am not so concerned whether if this is an internal conflict [in the pro-Beijing camp],” he said, adding that he can work with all parties.

Leung said that he respected the result of the vote, but he was confused about who supported him and who did not. He added that he did not give any favours to his party when he was chairman, and that accusations to this effect were untrue.

Ken Chow Wing-kan of the Liberal Party said that Leung “got what he deserved.”

Close bid

Meanwhile in the Sham Shui Po District Council, Tam Kwok-kiu of the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood lost his bid for the chairmanship to Ambrose Cheung Wing-sum by 11-12 votes.

Cheung, formerly a member of the Liberal Party, ran as an independent candidate.

Liberal Party district councillor Dominic Lee Tsz-king, whom Tam tried to lobby, voted for Cheung. Tam said Lee fell under the pressure from the China Liaison Office.

Kris Cheng

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.