A group of masked protesters opposing pro-democracy by-election candidate Paul Zimmerman failed in their attempt to enter an industry-only forum on Monday night.

The four men and four women holding printed reports on illegal structures at Zimmerman’s home tried to enter a forum held by four organisations in the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape constituency.

Zimmerman apologised in January for illegal rooftop structures at his Sai Kung home and undertook work to remove them.

Protest Paul Zimmerman
Photo: Kwan Siu-lun.

After staff members explained that the event was only for members, the group left the forum’s entrance after taking a photo, according to architect Kwan Siu-lun, who is on Zimmerman’s team.

The group then moved to the ground floor of the building hosting the forum and chanted slogans. They took another group photo before leaving on a bus, Kwan said.

“I believe if they did not get together by chance, they must be a party of masked people trying to conceal their identity,” Kwan said.

The by-election will be held on Sunday.

Protest Paul Zimmerman
Photo: Kwan Siu-lun.

“In this election, some candidates often said that we must defend our profession, which I absolutely agree with,” Kwan said. “The profession is not only about our work, but should be reflected in our lives as well.”

“But if a professional sector falls to the level of attacking rivals by using a group of masked people, what image of the professional sector are we showing to the public?”

Protest Paul Zimmerman
Photo: Kwan Siu-lun.

Kwan said he did not believe such political attacks would be used in an election for a professional sector.

“I used to believe that. But after tonight, I feel deeply that if we do not take any action, such ideology will spread everywhere,” he said.

The other candidate in the sector is Tony Tse.

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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.