An honorary president of the Liberal Party said the party’s election candidate Ken Chow Wing-kan told her that the pressure which forced him to make a sudden decision to drop out of the race came from “a higher level” than his rival in the election.

During a televised election forum on Thursday, Chow announced he would halt his election campaign in order to protect people around him from “greater trouble.” Later, a recording from one of rival candidate Junius Ho Kwan-yiu’s volunteers was revealed to the media – it made reference to deploying 20 to 30 people to “pressure” Chow during the forum, though the action did not occur.

Honorary president Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said Ken Chow hardly mentioned any conflict with candidates in the election.

“He said, ‘I cannot talk about many things – I cannot tell you, I cannot tell the media,’… but he added that the recording was only a lower level matter, an election matter. For that, I feel that his decision to drop out was not because of the recording,” she said.

James Tien Selina Chow
From left: James Tien and Selina Chow. Photo: Facebook.

Ken Chow, running in the New Territories West constituency, told E Weekly magazine last week that a middleman offered him cash amounting to double his election spending in return for halting his campaign. Chow refused the payment.

Selina Chow said the topic of money did not come up at all during a discussion with Chow about the pressure.

Chow remains mum

James Tien Pei-chun, also honorary president, said Ken Chow did not mention Junius Ho at all during a conversation with him.

Tien said he asked Chow if the pressure was from the recording, some indigenous communities in Tuen Mun or Yuen Long, the Hong Kong government, or even “Shenzhen” – suggesting influence from China, “But he told me, ‘Mr Tien, to protect my family and friends… I cannot say anything’.”

But Tien said he felt that Chow did not stop his election campaign due to the recording. Chow did not mention the China Liaison Office when speaking to him either, he said.

Ken Chow Wing-kan
Ken Chow Wing-kan. Photo: i-Cable Screenshot.

When Tien asked Chow as to why he did not contact the police, Chow told him: “If I am able to report it to the police, then I would be able to speak publicly [about the source of pressure], but you see I can’t.”

Tien said he could not agree with such a statement but respected his choice.

According to Tien, Chow is to leave Hong Kong and return on September 5, a day after the election, to provide answers to the public.

YouTube video

The Liberal Party, the Democratic Party, the Labour Party and the New People’s Party have reported the case to the anti-graft agency ICAC, urging it to launch an investigation.

The full list of candidates running across districts and constituencies can be viewed here.

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.