Speculation is rife that the government has something planned for this weekend’s election, and may throw a significant curve ball into the mix with enough oompf to get people angry enough to riot. Why else would our police force be mass mobilizing for war against citizens?

As one netizen put it on Facebook, “I can’t recall ANY nation where riot police are stationed near voting centres on election day. Hong Kong is the only place doing it. I think we can expect something fishy will happen this Sunday, courtesy of Communist Chinese government to Hong Kong.”

The Special Tactical Squad. Photo: Apple Daily.

Certainly, none of the so-called radical groups that I have contact with are planning any violent action to discredit Hong Kong’s elections. In fact, all of these groups openly advocate and believe in free and fair elections and have no interest in seeing these institutions tainted with violence.

What we do know is that there is one large party that is actively against free and fair elections and is pulling out all the stops this election. Yes, the Communist Party of China and their local proxy the China Liaison Office. What these guys are planning we can only guess at for now. Even the police have said that they currently rate the chances of violence from the public as low.

So why were they putting all their military muscle on display, in a gladiator-like arena, in front of a crowd of salivating law and order types this week? No one has said they’re going to riot. Hong Kong has no history of rioting on election day, so what’s the inside scoop? Do they know something we don’t?

Ken Chow Wing-kan, who dropped out of the election. Photo: Next Magazine screenshot.

Saying that, wherever we look now there are electoral red flags worthy of some tin-pot banana republic: Ballot boxes photographed at DAB offices, ballot papers being stored in returning officers’ homes, alternative venues for vote-counting being arranged, candidates dropping out through fear and others threatened with violence if they win. On top of all this, rumours are rife that more candidates will get the chop. Could this happen on election day? The list of electoral face-palms is endless.

By now we’re all so thoroughly used to the government dragging every institution in can through the proverbial cow muck, it makes you wonder what the government will need to do to get Hong Kongers rioting? The utter ham-fistedness of the government on everything it touches leaves even the most hot-blooded citizen confounded in a stupor of sheer amazement.

Photo: HKFP.

So, rather oddly, the biggest story for the coming election is not who the winners and losers will be, but what dastardly deed the government may have planned to get us angry enough to want to start lobbing bricks.

You really can’t make this stuff up!

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Richard Scotford

Richard is a freelance writer and long term resident of Hong Kong. He has a Master's Degree in Chinese Studies from CUHK and describes himself as a noisy muser on all things China. He has travelled extensively in Western China and once owned a trekking lodge high on the Tibetan border. He has a raw style of Opinion Journalism, with special interests in the South China Seas and deciphering Hong Kong's Localist/Independence groups.