Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp has won two out of four seats in Sunday’s Legislative Council by-elections, which they deemed a de facto “referendum” against the disqualification of opposition lawmakers. Gary Fan in New Territories East and Au Nok-hin in Hong Kong Island both emerged victorious, but the pro-Beijing camp gained the upper hand in West Kowloon and the architectural sector.

byelection results 2018
Pan-democrats. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Previously ousted lawmaker Edward Yiu failed to regain his seat, but demanded a recount as he was trailing just 2,000 votes behind eventual victor Vincent Cheng. Yiu ran in the architectural sector in 2016 before he was ejected from the legislature over protests he made during his oath-taking. On Sunday, he ran in the Kowloon West geographical constituency.

Yiu told reporters that he may not have displayed enough campaign materials in the district, but denied his campaign had neglected grassroots voters: “We started our campaign too late… as we had to wait until the confirmation of my declaration from a returning officer on the 29th of January.”

Edward Yiu
Edward Yiu. Photo: In-Media.

The overall turnout for the three geographical constituencies – Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West, and New Territories East – stood at 43 per cent, one of the lowest in recent elections. The turnout for the small-circle Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency stood at 70 per cent – around nine per cent lower than in the 2016 general legislative election.

byelection results 2018
Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

On Hong Kong Island, pro-democracy candidate Au Nok-hin beat pro-Beijing candidate Judy Chan with 137,181 votes to her 127,634. Earlier on Sunday, Chan accused her rival of “self-orchestrating” attacks on his campaign team after pro-establishment protesters hurled abuse in Aberdeen.

Au  said his win was a “pyrrhic victory” as he was only able to make campaign plans in a short period of time after Demosisto’s Agnes Chow was banned from entering the race: “This election should not have happened at all in the first place,” he said.

Regina Ip and Judy Chan
Regina Ip and Judy Chan. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

In New Territories East, pro-democracy candidate Gary Fan gained 183,762 votes, beating pro-Beijing candidate Bill Tang who attracted 155,904. Fan said there will be a lot of reflections necessary over the election.

byelection results 2018
Paul Zimmerman and Tony Tse. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

In the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency, pro-Beijing candidate Tony Tse – a former lawmaker of the sector – beat pro-democracy candidate Paul Zimmerman by 584 votes. Tse won the support of 2,929 voters compared to Zimmerman’s 2,345.

”Results in full“

Kowloon West
1 Edward Yiu 105,060
2 Vincent Cheng 107,479
3 Jonathan Tsoi 2,794

Hong Kong Island
1 Au Nok-hin 137,181
2 Ng Dick-hay 2,202
3 Edward Yum 3,580
4 Judy Chan 127,634

New Territories East:
1 Nelson Wong 6,182
2 Christine Fong 64,905
3 Estella Chan 1,504
4 Bill Tang 155,904
5 Joyce Chiu 3,068
6 Gary Fan 183,762

Architectural sector:
1 Tony Tse 2,929
2 Paul Zimmerman 2,345

The legislature now consists of 26 pro-democracy and 42 pro-Beijing candidates, meaning democrats still lack the power to veto legislation.

byelection results 2018
Photo: In-Media.

The by-election was triggered after four lawmakers were ousted by the High Court following an interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law by Beijing. They were among six who faced legal action for inappropriately taking their oaths of office upon initially being elected in 2016. Ex-lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung and Lau Siu-lai are still appealing their disqualifications.

A full round-up of our by-election stories:

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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.