Former Hong Kong lawmaker Frederick Fung has engaged in a war of words against Facebook users after he was nominated – as the only candidate – by his pro-democracy party to run in an upcoming legislative by-election.

By-elections will likely be held to fill the seats vacated by localist lawmakers Yau Wai-ching (Kowloon West) and Baggio Leung (New Territories East), who were disqualified by the High Court last November owing to the controversial way in which they took their oaths of office.

frederick fung
Frederick Fung. File photo: TVB via Stand News.

The date of the elections are not yet set, as the government is also attempting to dislodge four other pro-democracy legislators.

Only candidate

The moderate Association for Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL) announced on Tuesday night that Fung received over two-thirds of the vote in a primary election among party members. He will represent the party in the official Kowloon West election.

64-year-old Fung was unseated from his District Council seat in 2015, and his Legislative Council seat in 2016.

Young ADPL member Kalvin Ho Kai-ming had expressed his intention to run in the by-election in January. But in May he reversed his decision, saying he wanted to “resolve the disputes within his party.” Fung thus became the only candidate.

Kalvin Ho Kai-ming
Kalvin Ho Kai-ming. File photo: Facebook.

Another prominent ADPL member, Rosanda Mok, told Apple Daily in May that she disagreed with Fung’s nomination, and has considered leaving the ADPL to join the Democratic Party.

War of words

ADPL’s Facebook announcement of Fung’s nomination on Tuesday attracted criticism from commenters, claiming that he was unwilling to relinquish power to the new generation.

“Do you see why your fellow ADPL members want to quit the party? Why does Rosanda Mok react like this?” asked one commenter. “I just think you crave power.”

Fung replied using the ADPL’s official Facebook account: “If I craved power, then I wouldn’t have run for the [functional constituency] seat in 2012, though I was approved to run in Kowloon West (where I had an 80 per cent chance of winning).”

adpl rosanda mok
ADPL. File photo: Mok ka-han, Rosanda via Facebook.

“I don’t have a seat now, what craving do I have? Now it’s about the pro-democracy camp challenging the [largest pro-establishment party] DAB!” he added.

“If the party told you to run in Kowloon West… and you ran for the functional constituency anyway, I can only say you don’t listen to the party, you don’t care about reality,” replied the Facebook user. “That is disloyal and unethical.”

“I say that I don’t have a craving, and now you call me disloyal and unethical!” replied Fung. “You’re the best: Heads you win, tails I lose.”

See also: Pro-democracy ADPL party calls for self-determination in 30th anniversary manifesto

The ADPL has also called on all pro-democracy parties to hold a pro-democracy primary election, in order to select one representative and maximise their chances of beating the pro-Beijing camp to the Kowloon West seat.

Active only in Kowloon, the ADPL is one of Hong Kong’s oldest pro-democracy parties.

Elson Tong

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.