A former pro-democracy Hong Kong district councillor has started a controversial 24-hour crowdfunding campaign in which he aims to raise HK$200,000 to enable him to “carry on his district work.”

By Friday evening, ex-Yau Tsim Mong District Council member Chan Tsz-wai had raised just HK$2,000 and said in a Facebook post that he would stop the crowdfunding effort at 6am on Saturday if he hadn’t reached his target.

Chan Tsz-wai. Photo: Facebook/Chan Tsz-wai.

Chan, whose abilities as a district councillor have been questioned in the past, said that he would “donate” any money raised should his campaign fail, but did not elaborate on where or to whom the money would be donated. His move has triggered criticism from netizens.

In a Facebook posting published on Friday morning the ex-councillor that he wanted to crowdfund HK$200,000 to run his office for another two years and four months.

Chan said that half of the money would be used for office expenses, and the other half will be used to open a store to raise funds.

See also: Against all odds: New district councillor Chan Tsz-wai says residents’ needs should come before politics

He also said wanted to reach 10,000 “likes” on his Facebook page. He said that, if he failed to meet the target, he would stop updating his social media page and donate any money he had received from the campaign.

“You all know that the government had forced us district councillors to quit,” Chan told HKFP. “We have a responsibility to complete the term, even without government subsidies.”

The 28-year-old resigned as a district councillor last month as part of an exodus over new government requirements that all councillors swear an oath of allegiance to the government.

Local media also reported that the government would demand disqualified district councillors repay their salaries to the administration, prompting fears over a potential financial burden.

Yau Tsim Mong District Council. Photo: Owan Li via Facebook.

The former district councillor said that he had not been able to work on community issues since he started his new job, which he described as “manual labour work.”

He added that the money he received from crowdfunding will not be used to cover his personal expenses, and that he would look for a new job with more flexible hours to accommodate working on district matters if he reaches his funding goal.

Controversy

Chan’s post on Friday prompted heavy criticism from netizens, with many questioning the use of the funds if the campaign was successful, as well as Chan’s ability to conduct community work.

This was not the first controversy he was involved in. In January, the then-district councillor referred a case to his opponent, pro-establishment former district councillor Chris Ip, after Chan struggled to get in contact with an owners’ corporation.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.