Former Scholarism spokesperson Oscar Lai Man-lok has announced that he has left the student activist group to campaign for the pro-democracy Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, a candidate in Sunday’s Legislative Council by-election.

Earlier, Scholarism stated that it would not endorse any candidates in the upcoming polls, saying that the decision was made in order to “maintain the group’s independence”. The group also said that the spokesperson and convenor would not make any public statements declaring support for any of the candidates, although other members were welcome to express their stances.

oscar lai scholarism
Scholarism’s Oscar Lai. Photo: Stand News.

Lai, who has been a vocal supporter of Yeung, said that although he was no longer the spokesperson for Scholarism, some members of the group were still concerned that it would appear as if he was speaking on behalf of the group. Lai therefore submitted his resignation from the group on Saturday, with immediate effect. He continued campaigning for Yeung on Sunday.

“My freedom to express my political views has clashed with the circumstances of reality. This situation is awkward and I think there’s a need to do something to ease the mistrust… thank you everyone for your support all this time,” Lai said.

Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong Chi-fung also confirmed the news to Stand News. Wong said that Lai’s exit from the group will not affect plans to field candidates in the upcoming Legislative Council elections in September.

Seven candidates in total are contesting the New Territories East constituency seat in the Legislative Council by-election, triggered by the resignation of former Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah. They include Lau Chi-Shing, Nelson Wong Sing-chi, Holden Chow Ho-ding, Albert Leung Sze-ho, Christine Fong Kwok-shan, Edward Leung Tin-kei and Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu.

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.