A Hong Kong newsmaker is chosen each month by HKFP. Click here to view previous nominees. Eddie Chu Hoi-dick is selected as HKFP’s Person of the Month for September 2016.

Eddie Chu won a seat in the Legislative Council election on September 5 with 84,121 votes, the highest amount of votes in geographical constituencies. He emerged as a surprise winner after campaigning on fair land use in the New Territories. He advocates self-determination for Hong Kong.

A long-time activist, Chu was not unknown to the public. He protested to try to stop the demolition of the old Star Ferry Pier and Queen’s Pier in 2005 and fought with Tsoi Yuen villagers against the express rail link in 2010. A former journalist, Chu also helped to found the Land Justice League, a community movement organisation. Chu ran for a district council seat in 2011 and again in 2015. Both times he lost to powerful indigenous figures in Yuen Long.

Eddie Chu after his win. Photo: Cloud.

After being elected, Chu continued to make headlines. Four days after the election, he reported threats against himself and his family to the police and received police protection, prompting an outpouring of support from Hongkongers.

Chu made exposing collusion between the government, business, rural and triad groups a major part of his campaign. At the centre of it was a controversial project in Wang Chau, Yuen Long. After he was elected, Chu slammed the government for conducting informal discussions with district leaders over the project instead of consulting with the villagers who would be affected.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was forced to admit that he made the decision to postpone 13,000 public housing units on the contested land, although he denied the decision was influenced by rural leaders.

See also: Kicking the hornet’s nest: ‘King of votes’ Eddie Chu to tackle rural gentry, but expects political violence

Banners calling for the conservation of Wang Chau greenbelt. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

Chu said that he is inclined to invoke the Powers and Privileges Ordinance to investigate the Wang Chau controversy, and pro-democratic lawmakers have pledged to investigate the issue once the LegCo term begins in October.

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Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.