Pro-establishment lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has said that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Financial Secretary John Tsang, and ex-judge Woo Kwok-hing would not be competent leaders of Hong Kong. The three are expected to be the likely candidates for next year’s chief executive election.

Ip expressed an interest in running for the top job during a Commercial Radio programme on Thursday. She said that “preparation work is being done” and that she may formally announce her candidacy after the election for the Election Committee in December.

Regina Ip. Stanley Leung/HKFP.

‘Lacks democratic basis’

Ip said that if Leung was re-elected, many people would be disappointed. “Given the lack of democratic basis of your leadership, even if you are elected by luck, you won’t be able to endure your job,” she said, referring to Leung. “I think if [Leung] hears this, he will be very upset. But I am just telling the truth.”

The veteran politician said that regardless of Leung’s performance, Hong Kong should have a new leader in order to give society hope.

Asked whether she is abandoning ship given her membership of the Executive Council – Hong Kong’s top policy-making organ – Ip said she has always supported the government and has provided it with her honest advice. “I have duly fulfilled my duties,” she said.

Leung Chun-ying. File

Leung has not yet publicly declared an intent to run for re-election.


A source has told media outlet HK01 that Financial Secretary John Tsang has written to Beijing stating that he will soon resign and run for chief executive. Tsang’s office said it will not comment on speculation.

Ip said that informing the Chinese government in writing is inappropriate and “quite impolite.” She said that Tsang should have paid a visit to Beijing and met with Chinese officials to find out whether they support him.

“[Tsang] should have discussed the plan and timing [with Beijing]. There is no reason for him to simply write a letter saying ‘I am going to quit’ as if he were the boss,” said Ip.

John Tsang. Photo: Gov HK.

Ip said that she did not doubt that Tsang intends to join the race. “I also know many people and businesses support him. Some people said that he has been preparing for [the election] for two years,” she said. “He has been appearing to support localism to gain popularity.”

But she described Tsang as “a bit of a slacker” as she thinks that the financial secretary, now ten years into his job, has few achievements to his name.

‘Zero experience’

Ip also said that retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, who announced his candidacy on Thursday, is probably sincere about contributing to Hong Kong, given that society, the private sector and even mainland Chinese investors are dissatisfied with the Leung administration.

Woo Kwok-hing. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

But she said that while judges are perceived as respectable and upright, Woo has “zero experience” in public administration, including in the fields of housing, education and the economy.

Ip added that judges are independent and have no ties with Beijing, but it important for chief executive candidates to have Beijing’s trust and to show that they can cooperate with Beijing.

The nomination period for chief executive candidates has yet to be announced. The election is scheduled for March 26 next year.

Ellie Ng

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