Civic Party member Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, who is a candidate in the upcoming Legislative Council by-elections, has defended his assistance to protesters involved in Monday’s unrest. He also denied that he had been bribing voters and said that neither of the demonstrators he helped were voters in the New Territories East constituency.

The government’s clearing of street hawkers in Mong Kok on Monday evening triggered violent protests which continued into the early hours of Tuesday morning. In an official statement, the Civic Party condemned protesters for assaulting police and journalists, resulting in injuries and damage to property, but also criticised the police for firing shots into the air.

File Photo: Alvin Yeung.

Yeung, who is a member of the party, offered legal assistance to protesters involved in the unrest and was criticised for “helping the rioters”. As Yeung is a candidate in the upcoming Legislative Council by-elections, some netizens suspected him of bribing voters and said that they would be reporting him to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and Registration and Electoral Office, Apple Daily reported.

‘No reason not to help’

Yeung addressed these claims in a Facebook post on his official page on Thursday, saying, “I am a person with independent thinking skills, and I’m also a barrister – my roles as a Civic Party member and candidate in Legislative Council New Territories East by-election only comes after… Just because I do not agree with someone’s behaviour does not mean I can ignore someone’s legal rights being infringed, because I believe in the rule of law. Whether or not someone is guilty should be determined by evidence, by the judge, and by the jury.”

“That [Tuesday] night, I was at the Mong Kok Police Station assisting two people who sought help. Neither of them were voters in the New Territories East constituency and I see no reason not to help, because this is to defend Hongkonger’s rule of law and basic human rights.” Yeung also dismissed claims that the Civic Party was “controlling” him or that he was “bribing voters” as baseless.

Photo: Kris Cheng, HKFP.

See More: Rising political leaders profile: Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu

Yeung also acknowledged that there was a great chance he might lose in the elections, but said, “It’s not important whether I win or lose, but what I’m concerned about is whether we can secure this key seat which is crucial to our fight against the powerful regime. With tyranny comes violence – if we fail and what we get is [Chief Executive] Leung Chun-ying’s triumphant smile, the pro-Beijing parties amending the [LegCo] rules of procedure and bills that betray Hongkongers are passed as a result, I will not be contented, because: The loser is Hong Kong.”

Yeung said that there were two weeks left and thanked everyone for supporting him throughout.

Alvin Yeung and Ronny Tong. File Photo: Stand News via 公民黨.

Seven candidates in total – including localist group Hong Kong Indigenous‘s Edward Leung Tin-kei, who was arrested for taking part in the protests on Monday night – will be contesting the New Territories East constituency seat in the upcoming Legislative Council by-election.  The election was triggered by the resignation of former Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah and has been set for February 28, 2016.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.