Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has appointed a former district councillor who lost his seat in the 2019 elections as her new under secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs.

Clement Woo, a member of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), will take office on Wednesday. His appointment comes after former under secretary Andy Chan resigned in February, citing personal health concerns.

Clement Woo Kin-man. Photo: GovHK.

The Chief Executive’s Office said the 54-year-old has long been “dedicated to youth services in the community” by serving in various government committees and has “ample experience” in trade and manufacturing both on the mainland and abroad.

“[Woo] has made notable contributions to society through his participation in various government statutory and advisory bodies including the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education, the Family Council and the Basic Law Promotion Steering Committee, as well as his service as an auxiliary police officer,” the government’s announcement on Monday read.

Woo is also a former chairperson for the DAB’s Tai Po branch committee. He holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Imperial College London and an Executive Master of Public Administration degree from Beijing’s Tsinghua University.

2019 district council race

After serving as the district councillor for the Wang Fuk constituency in the Tai Po district from 2016 to 2019, Woo lost his seat to then-21-year-old democrat Herman Yiu by around 1,000 votes in the elections two years ago.

Yiu is currently serving a three-month sentence for unauthorised assembly.

Hongkongers line up to vote in the 2019 District Council election. Photo: GovHK.

The district council race, then the city’s only fully democratic elections, saw an overwhelming victory for the city’s pro-democracy camp in 2019, after it won an electoral majority in 17 out of 18 districts amid months of city-wide demonstrations.

Following what many considered a humiliating loss for the pro-establishment camp, Lam reportedly apologised and promised the defeated councillors they would be appointed to government committees.

Scores of pro-establishment councillors who lost their seats were also elected to the newly established Election Committee to select Hong Kong’s future leader and the majority of its lawmakers under Beijing’s overhaul of the city’s electoral system to ensure only “patriots” can govern.

In recent months, over 200 pro-democracy district councillors have resigned or have been ousted after authorities introduced mandatory oaths of allegiance for public officers earlier this year.

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Rhoda Kwan

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.