Pro-Beijing lawmakers Ann Chiang Lai-wan and Holden Chow Ho-ding have expressed concern to visiting US congressmen over the recent incident involving a United Airlines passenger dragged off an overbooked flight.

The pair, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, met with American senators and congressmen on Thursday morning for around 30 minutes at a closed-door meeting.

“We heard some members of the public were worried about overbooking, as they have tickets to the US [and wondered] if similar incidents would happen to them,” said Chiang.

Holden Chow Ann Chiang
Holden Chow and Ann Chiang. Photo: SocREC screenshot.

“We hope when they go back to the US, they will review this carefully,” she added. “They responded that they will raise the issue in congress.”


Chiang also said the congressmen expressed concern over Hong Kong’s situation including developments in the city’s democracy and economy.

“In some sense, Hong Kong has more freedom than in the past – the democratic component is higher than before the handover,” she said. “Unfortunately, the last legislative term could not pass the political reform package.”

The package was formed under Beijing’s 2014 framework, which stated that it must vet chief executive candidates through a nomination committee it largely controls. It was rejected by all democrats.

“Hong Kong’s economy will be better and better with the mainland’s push,” Chiang added.

Asked if they have raised the issues surrounding North Korea and Syria, Chiang said the meeting was too short so they did not: “Mainly it was them asking questions.”

《聯合航空虐客》聯合航空虐客事件觸怒全球,不少市民向我表達感到不安及非常憤怒,亦有市民認為事件涉及種族歧視,並認為當日在飛機上對乘客發生的暴力事件在任何地方都不能接受。今天我分別去信聯合航空總裁以及美國駐港領事,反映市民意見及嚴正要求聯合航空及美國政府對事件進行徹底調查,並確保日後不會發生同類事件。#葛珮帆 #聯合航空虐客

Posted by 葛珮帆 Elizabeth Quat on Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Meanwhile, lawmaker Elizabeth Quat, Chiang and Chow’s party colleague, also wrote to US Consul-General Kurt Tong and United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz to express her concerns.

“I have received many comments from people feeling outraged at the nature of the incident. Some even suggested that racial discrimination was involved. Such behaviour should not happen anywhere in the world,” she wrote.

Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, a former student activist, jokingly asked the US Congress to “urge Hong Kong DAB party not to interfere with internal affairs of the US.”

The meeting came after lawmaker Charles Mok, who studied and worked in the US, cut up his United Airlines mileage card.

Posted by Charles Mok 莫乃光 on Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho, also a commercial airline pilot, made a video explaining the incident to his supporters saying he would make suggestions to authorities on compensating passengers asked to leave flights because of overbooking.

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.