Human rights lawyer Mark Daly has lost his re-election bid for a seat on the Hong Kong Law Society’s governing council.

The regulatory body for the city’s more than 12,000 solicitors held its annual general meeting at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Tuesday. Voting for six seats on the 20-strong council ended at around 10:30 p.m., local media reported.

melissa pang shum hin-han Simon McConnell Hau Pak-sun Vincent Tso Calvin Cheng
Newly elected council members (from left): Calvin Cheng, Vincent Tso, Melissa Pang, Shum Hin-han, Simon John McConnell and Hau Pak-sun. Photo: Supplied.

There were seven candidates for the six spots. Daly, dubbed “the only liberal” by media and critics, ran against former Law Society president Melissa Pang, Calvin Cheng, Simon John McConnell, Hau Pak-sun, Shum Hin-han and Vincent Tso.

Pang, Cheng and McConnell were re-elected to the council.

The six newly confirmed council members met the press afterwards, with Pang saying they would continue to work to promote the spirit of rule of law and safeguard the professionalism of lawyers in the city, HK01 reported.

Human rights lawyer

Daly was a member of the council from 2015 to 2018, but lost the race in 2018. He was elected to the governing body again in 2019, where he held a seat until Tuesday’s vote.

In 2019, the human rights lawyer called for the Law Society to urge the government to withdraw the extradition amendment bill.

Mark Daly
Human rights lawyer Mark Daly. Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Announcing his re-election bid earlier this month, Daly said in a statement, “I believe that [the Law Society council] requires more diverse views and a revitalised international perspective. Upholding the rule of law requires concrete actions more than music videos.”

The remark appeared to be a reference to a music video made by the Law Society in July. The song “Love for Hong Kong” was created by ex-president Pang, and “dedicated to the learning and protection of the rule of law amongst the general public, in particular young people,” the body wrote in the video’s YouTube blurb.

HKFP has reached out to Daly for comment.

Fair and objective election

President Chan Chak-ming said while meeting the press on Tuesday that the election was held in a “fair and objective” manner.

chan chak ming law society
Chan Chak-ming (centre), president of the Law Society of Hong Kong, met the press on August 23, 2022. Photo: Supplied.

“The Law Society, under the legal systems of common law and the Basic Law, will continue to safeguard the rule of law and judicial independence. We will work to elevate Hong Kong’s status as the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific Region,” Chan said.

HK01 reported that Chan did not respond directly to questions about the non-jury trial for the 47 democrats national security case, saying only that the Law Society was obligated to protect people’s right a fair trial.

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Almond Li

Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.