Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam has said she consciously chose to win by 777 votes after reviewing and accepting a problematic ballot, adding one more vote to the 776 she already had.

carrie lam
Carrie Lam. Photo: Carrie Lam, via Facebook.

The Cantonese word for “seven” is phonetically similar to an obscene word meaning a flaccid penis, or refers to “stupidity” or a “blunder.”

But Lam, a Catholic, said otherwise on a Commercial Radio show on Tuesday.

“In the Bible, the number seven is a good number, quite a perfect number,” she said when asked by the host if she did not like the negative meanings associated.

She said there was a problematic ballot which clearly was a vote for her, although the tick by the elector was on the border of the circle.

The returning officer had already told her that she had 776 votes and could accept or decline the ballot.


She said her aide barrister Laurence Li Lu-jen, who was by her side at the time, jokingly advised her not to accept it, in order to avoid the embarrassing figure.

Lam said on the radio programme that, “there was no reason not to” accept it, so she consciously chose to win by 777 votes, instead of 776.

The host told Lam, seen as Beijing’s favourite candidate, of Psalms 77:7 in the Bible: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favour again?”

Lam laughed and joked about another Cantonese phrase related to three sevens. She also revealed that she prepared three speeches – including an acceptance speech, a concession speech and a speech if the election failed to completed by the first round.

She said the concession speech was written by a young person: “I haven’t read it myself, I don’t plan to read it.”

Asked if it was because she was very confident in winning, she said: “It’s good to be optimistic, positive, and confident in Hong Kong.”

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.