Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, who announced his run for chief executive on Thursday, is against incumbent Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying as well as Beijing’s decision in 2014 to bar open elections in the territory, according to lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan of the Democratic Party.

Wong said in a D100 radio show on Wednesday that she met Woo the day before. She said Woo was already considering running in March, and the main reason for entering the race is because he “disagrees with CY Leung.”

Woo Kwok-hing
Woo Kwok-hing. File Photo: GovHK.

“He had been very tight-lipped [since March], maybe because he thought it wasn’t the right timing,” said Wong. “He thinks [Leung] did a lousy job, which led to many conflicts in society. He hopes that he can make society more harmonious and united by coming forward.”

Woo also thinks that he is able to understand different perspectives owing to his training as a judge, according to Wong.

She added that Woo thinks Beijing’s decision in August 2014 to bar open elections in Hong Kong should be withdrawn. He thinks the chief executive and all lawmakers should be elected by universal suffrage, according to Wong.

Helena Wong Pik-wan.
Helena Wong Pik-wan.

She added that Woo did not appear to have finalised his cabinet choices yet. “He thinks that after the announcement [of his intention], like-minded people will approach him. He didn’t seem too worried.”

The lawmaker said the meeting lasted for less than an hour, and she has not made any promises such as for the Democratic Party to support Woo.

Woo also met with Labour Party veteran politicians Lee Cheuk-yan and Cyd Ho Sau-lan on Wednesday, Apple Daily reported.

woo kwok hing labour party
Woo met with Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan and Cyd Ho on Wednesday.

Lee said that Woo’s candidacy would allow the public to focus on the candidates’ visions for Hong Kong, and not just on particular candidates.

Local newspaper Ming Pao reported that Woo also met with other parties including the pro-Beijing DAB party and the Business and Professionals Alliance.

See also: Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing to become first to enter Chief Exec. election race

The 70-year-old retired judge has served in multiple public roles including chairman of the former election commission and later the Electoral Affairs Commission between 1993 and 2006. He was the first ever Commissioner on Interception of Communications and Surveillance between 2006 and 2012.

His latest appointment by the judiciary was as the deputy judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court from August 17 to October 18. He announced his candidacy a week after his temporary appointment ended.

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.