Rural leader Gary Hau Chi-keung has registered for the Legislative Council election in September without any party support, saying that other parties have failed to act in the interests of New Territories indigenous villagers.

“Our team is not seeking fame or benefits,” Hau said as he submitted his nomination form on Wednesday to run in the New Territories East constituency. “We only want to speak for the people in the New Territories who face suppression and unfair treatment.”

Hau, chairman of the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee, was a former member of the pro-Beijing Liberal Party. Rural figures often ran as pro-Beijing party members in elections in the past.

Gary Hau Chi-keung. Photo: Facebook.

When asked if the pro-Beijing camp spoke out for the villagers, Hau said: “I am rather stupid myself – I really could not see anyone who has spoken out for us. Please notify me if you see any.”

An internal document from the major rural advisory body Heung Yee Kuk that was acquired by Ming Pao in January criticised pro-Beijing parties for not acting in the interests of the indigenous villagers after they entered the legislature with the rural faction’s support.

Hau said he would fight for voters’ support on his own, rather than with other parties.

In response to concerns that he might snatch votes from pro-Beijing parties, he said: “if you have done well, no one can grab your votes; if you did not let the people down, no one can snatch your votes. If you are afraid of your votes being snatched, it says that you have done many things that let people down.”

Lau Wong-fat and son Kenneth Lau Ip-keung.

The Heung Yee Kuk decided it was unable to back Hau in its own name.

Hau failed to form a new party for the rural faction, as he faced opposition from some other rural leaders.

The Heung Yee Kuk discussed his potential run at an internal meeting on Tuesday, reported Apple Daily. Its chairman Kenneth Lau Ip-keung said after the meeting that the body will not support any candidate using its own name, as its members support different candidates. But members can support candidates individually, Lau said.

Hau said on Wednesday that he received “cheers and applause” from all members at the meeting a day ago. He claimed that the Heung Yee Kuk did not carry out a vote on supporting him because it has yet to decide which candidate its members will support in the New Territories West constituency.

Junius Ho Kwan-yiu. Photo: Facebook.

Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, a solicitor with a rural background, registered to run in the New Territories West constituency last Saturday as an independent candidate days before the meeting.

According to the Hong Kong Economic Times, members of the Heung Yee Kuk opposed Ho’s run; some cited an incident in 2011 in which Ho took over the chairmanship of the Tuen Mun District Rural Committee, replacing Lau’s father, the respected veteran lawmaker Lau Wong-fat.

But Ho said after the meeting that it was normal to have opposing voices, as there are no eternal friends or enemies in the political circle.

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.