Macau police provided hundreds of pages of evidence to the casino hub’s election authority to justify the disqualification of veteran pro-democracy lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong from the upcoming legislative race. It included a photo taken with a Hong Kong Democratic Party chief in 2019, photos of the annual June 4 Tiananmen Massacre vigils he organised, and of a tour to Taiwan during the region’s presidential elections, the lawmaker has said.

The image caption reads: “Image 24. August 3, 2019, Ng Kuok-cheong (A) meeting with the pro ‘Hong Kong independence’ Hong Kong Democratic Party key member Wu Chi-wai.” Photo: Supplied.

Announced last Friday, the Macau electoral authority’s sweeping decision to remove all 21 pro-democracy contenders from the race came without warning.

They were deemed ineligible because they had allegedly failed to uphold the Basic Law and bear allegiance to Macau, Hong Kong’s sister Special Administrative Region of China, based on evidence presented by police.

The contenders requested that authorities supply the materials which supported their disqualification following the announcement. The materials showed that electoral officials submitted a request for information to police on July 2, and were provided with several hundreds of pages of “research” two days later. “Their work efficiency was extremely high,” Ng told HKFP. About 200 pages littered with photographs throughout pertained to Ng’s candidacy.

Lawmaker Ng Kuok-cheong. Photo: Ng Kuok-cheong via Facebook..

“The majority of the information focussed on what I did in Macau with a small amount about my activities in Hong Kong or elsewhere,” Ng said. “Most of them were very odd.”

One of the photos from the pile showed Ng meeting with former “pro-Hong Kong independence” Democratic Party chief Wu Chi-wai in August 2019. Wu, currently in custody, was among 47 democrats charged with alleged violation of the Hong Kong national security law in connection with a primary election amongst democrats that took place last July.

In response, the Democratic Party said on Tuesday that Wu and the party “never agreed with or supported Hong Kong independence.”

“The first and second items on the Democratic Party’s manifesto state that ‘[w]e support the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to China,’ the practice of ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong, and high degree of autonomy, unchanged for 27 years,” their statement read.

Ng said the evidence given by the Macau authorities was “very strange.”

“I believe that Hongkongers are unlikely to believe that this could be the description for Wu Chi-wai, whatever they think of him,” he said.

‘Radical opposition leaders’

Another photo from 2012 showed Ng meeting with “Hong Kong radical opposition” Civic Party leaders at the time, Alan Leong, Margaret Ng and Bill Lay.

Margaret Ng was sentenced in April to a 12-month suspended sentence over a 2019 unauthorised protest.

The 200-page pile, with material from as early as 2010, also included photos of Ng taken during a trip to Taiwan in 2014 to observe the region’s presidential elections. Authorities thought the trip demonstrated he was “unpatriotic,” Ng said.

The image caption reads: “Image 27. August 11, 2012, Ng Kuok-cheong (A) and Chan wai-chi (B) meeting with Hong Kong radical opposition Civic Party chief Alan Leong (C), Vice Chairperson Margaret Ng (D) and Secretary Bill Lay (E).” Photo: Supplied.

The majority of the content focussed however on his role in organising June 4 vigils in Macau commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre — which were “not approved of by the country and therefore were problematic,” Ng said. It also noted his calls for universal suffrage in Macau, which the authorities deemed as illegal.

“This is clearly very strange in logic,” he said, as his demands for universal suffrage had always stated that it should be enacted through a vote at the legislature.

Ng said he and other candidates will first submit an administrative appeal against the decision to disqualify them, and if it was unsuccessful, will bring it up to the Macau Court of Final Appeal.

A Facebook post published by Ng on a 2014 tour to Taiwan to observe the region’s election. Photo: Supplied.

“It depends on what you’d imagine this to be about: if they disqualified us because police submitted a large amount of images, we are absolutely confident that we can explain everything through appeal or the court,” he said.

“But if you say ‘these are just for show, it is in fact a political decision made behind the scenes’ — it will be useless to try to explain it.”

Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.