Defeated by-election candidate Edward Yiu says he may consider runnning in the District Council elections next year, but will not run in by-elections again due to his lack of district experience.

In Sunday’s by-election, Yiu lost to the pro-Beijing DAB’s Vincent Cheng with a margin of around 2,400 votes – one per cent of the votes cast in the Kowloon West constituency. The by-election was held to fill four seats vacated over the oath-taking row, one of them being Yiu’s, who won a seat in the architecture and surveying functional constituency in 2016.

Yiu has been criticised for overly relying on social media promotion and tactics including bicycle rides and recycled banners over traditional street campaigning. The pro-democracy camp bowed in apology on Tuesday for their failure to retake the Kowloon West seat.

Edward Yiu
Edward Yiu. File photo: In-Media.

In an RTHK interview aired on Friday morning, Yiu said: “The election isn’t for myself – so when it was my failure that led to the defeat, I need to apologise for it. When I saw how disappointed the volunteers were and that they were crying, I felt like I had let them down. It was the first time I was so emotional,” he said.

Yiu also said that he had no idea what it would be like to have the support of over 100,000 voters. “On the stage of Hong Kong politics, I am a child in kindergarten trying to get into a primary school and I failed.”

“The flaws that experts and scholars discussed – there were volunteers and team members who gave me reminders [on these topics], such as the location of the street station – they said ‘no one lives here on Saturday and it’s a tourist zone’ – but I insisted, even though they already reminded me,” he added.

Edward Yiu
Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

He said he believes he was best suited to support the pro-democracy camp behind the scenes in the role of an academic, but added that he may run again if there was a lack of candidates in the pro-democracy camp.

He said he is also considering running in the District Council elections in 2019, and was likely to go for the Chi Fu constituency in Southern District. However, he would choose a constituency in Kowloon West instead, if he decides to run for the same seat in the Legislative Council election in 2020.

As pro-democracy lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung and Lau Siu-lai are currently appealing their disqualifications, two more seats may be up for grab if they are unsuccessful. But Yiu said that he would likely not take part in future by-elections, as he would face the same challenges of lacking in district experience and interaction with voters.

Frederick Fung
Frederick Fung. Photo: In-Media.

Pro-democracy veteran Frederick Fung, who lost to Yiu in the pan-democrats’ primary election, also spoke out on Thursday. Fung told Now TV in an interview there were voters who were upset that he was attacked by fellow pan-democrats in the primaries, especially since he had assisted those in the district for around three decades.

Since the election, the public has questioned whether his party, ADPL, did enough to support Yiu. In response, Fung said: “In terms of election work, the time [spent], offering advice, or even he things we proposed – it was a couple of times more than what Yiu proposed for us to do. If we’re considered lazy even after this – I can only say we’ve done our best.”

Fung said that the primaries had divided voters, and added that he believed Yiu was too focused on a single incident – namely the disqualifications. He also said that if Lau Siu-lai were to run in the by-elections, he would not compete with her.

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.