An IT entrepreneur has announced his intention to run in March’s legislative by-elections, forming a new industry group and claiming to be an independent candidate.

At Innovation.HK+’s establishment ceremony on Thursday, chairperson Alex Li told Oriental Daily that he wished to run in New Territories East – a constituency where three pro-democracy, two localist and a single pro-Beijing candidate will potentially contest the seat.

Alex Li (L) and former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: Alex Li via Facebook.

“From the anti-national education protests, the ‘political awakening’ of the Umbrella Movement to the Legislative Council disqualifications saga, Hong Kong appears to be moving both closer and further away from its young people,” wrote the group in a Facebook statement.

“[We wish to] unite our energy to change Hong Kong, and allow every industry and every country to witness the pro-active Lion Rock spirit of we Hong Kong youths.”

Pro-Beijing ties?

Currently in his mid-40s, Li has been interviewed on several occasions by Communist Party-controlled newspapers Takungpao and Wenweipo.

He has also been photographed with pro-Beijing figures such as former chief executive Leung Chun-ying and heavyweight politician Starry Lee, according to his Facebook.

In response to local media reports suggesting Li has ties with the pro-Beijing camp, however, Innovation.HK+ wrote on Facebook that it is an independent organisation.

The pro-democracy camp are holding a primary election to select a candidate for New Territories East. File Photo: In-Media.

“We thank the Hong Kong media for its ‘indirect’ support,” wrote the group.

“Hong Kong needs different voices, different stances, in order to become colourful. Young people need dreams in order to become pro-active.”

“If being pro-active for Hong Kong’s future makes us pro-establishment, then everyone is pro-establishment in Hong Kong.”

“We are innovative seeds who have once been abandoned, we are independent people, standing up for the future of Hong Kong youth.”

Li told Oriental Daily on Thursday that he wants to run on behalf of young people, and thus hopes to communicate with the localists – but has been unsuccessful in contacting them so far.

By-elections for New Territories East, Kowloon West, Hong Kong Island and the architectural functional constituency will be held on March 11 after legislators elected in 2016 were disqualified due to the way they took their oaths of office.


Elson Tong

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