A former student leader has said he would consider running in an upcoming by-election if he receives support from both localist groups and pan-democratic parties.

HK01 reported on Tuesday that Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, 22, was reaching out to different groups to discuss a potential campaign. Later that night, Cheung admitted in a social media post that different political factions have been persuading him to join the by-election.

Cheung, a former head of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Student Union, said the date and number of seats of the by-election is still uncertain, and it was too early for him to make any decisions.

Tommy Cheung. File Photo: Cloud.

He was said to be considering running for the seat in the New Territories East constituency left by the disqualified Youngspiration localist Baggio Leung Chung-hang.

‘Reducing friction’ 

Cheung, also a former student group Scholarism spokesperson, said his biggest wish was that the seat would be taken by a person accepted by localist groups, and that pan-democrats would not be split over the by-election.

Although Cheung was a student activist with more traditional pan-democratic groups, he is considered by many to have localist tendencies.

Cheung said he would be willing to join a coordination mechanism “in the hopes of reducing friction between different groups, and to prevent the pro-Beijing camp from taking advantage.”

Cheung added that, should he be elected, he would only complete the current term’s remaining time – until July 2020 – and would not seek re-election.

He was also a senate member of the university last year. He was recently disqualified from running as a candidate for the Chief Executive Election Committee on the grounds that he did not have “substantial connection” to the higher education sub-sector.

Gary Fan Kwok-wai of Neo Democrats. File

Other contenders 

Former lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai, of the pro-democracy camp, has also shown an interest in running in the area.

Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, another former lawmaker of the area, has proposed that the candidate for the by-election for the camp should be decided in a primary.

Democratic Party vice-chairman Lo Kin-hei and Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong both told HK01 that their parties’ support for Cheung depended on whether he would join a primary mechanism.

Kris Cheng

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.