Personnel from different government departments and the Hong Kong Police Force were sent to look into the office of a former pro-democracy district councillor after receiving reports of illegal workers at the premises.

Kudama Ng district councillor tai wai
The office of former pro-democracy district councillor Kudama Ng in Tai Wai. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

Officers from the police force, customs and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) arrived at Kudama Ng’s office in Tai Wai in the early evening on Monday.

The office was serving as a pick-up point for mooncakes sold by initiative Staymunity, which raises funds towards “continuing district work and Lam Cheuk-ting’s legal expenses,” according to the Staymunity website.

Lam, a former lawmaker, is one of 47 pro-democracy figures charged under the national security law with conspiracy to commit subversion over an unofficial legislative primary election held in July 2020. He has been in custody since last March.

Kudama Ng Ting-lam
Former Sha Tin district councillor Kudama Ng (right). Photo: Ng Ting Lam, via Facebook.

“It was quite baffling,” Ng, who was at the office when authorities came, told HKFP. “We don’t know what kind of complaints police received, but we welcomed their investigation.”

In an emailed response to HKFP on Tuesday, the police said they had received a report of illegal workers at the site. Upon investigation, officers did not find anything to substantiate the report, but suspected the office was being used to manufacture food without a license. Police said they passed the case to another department for follow-up.

On Tuesday, the FEHD told HKFP it had also dispatched officers to the site, but they did not find any evidence of food being manufactured without a license.

In a statement published on Facebook on Monday night, Staymunity said the office was being used to package mooncakes and as a place from which customers could pick them up.

The mooncakes were not being made at the office, Staymunity said, adding that all the mooncakes sold were from licensed suppliers.

Other locations in Sheung Wan, Mong Kok and Sheung Shui serving as pick-up points for the mooncakes were not checked by authorities, Ng told HKFP.

Ng was appointed as a district councillor in Tai Wai in the district council elections in 2019, which were held during months-long protests against a proposed amendment to the city’s extradition bill. Pro-democracy candidates won a majority against their pro-establishment rivals in all but one of the city’s 18 districts.

district council election 2019 november 24 (9) (Copy)
Banners for district council election candidates in November 2019 at Lek Yuen Estate, Shatin. Photo: May James/HKFP.

Ng, however, was unseated last October, along with dozens of other district councillors after authorities determined that their oaths – through which they must declare allegiance to the Hong Kong government and vow to upload the Basic Law – were invalid.

The oath-taking requirement was introduced last year after a Beijing official said “anti-China disrupting forces” should be blocked from politics. Scores of district councillors resigned ahead of taking their oaths.

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Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.