Adrian Ho, the founder of “Save HK” – a pro-Beijing Facebook group that had over 100,000 members but was removed by the social media platform – has been elected to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, together with the DAB’s Chan Wing-kwong, engineering professor William Wong, and AI company director Shang Hailong.

Adrian Ho Savehk 何敬康
Adrian Ho. File photo: Ocean Tham/HKFP

Sunday’s by-election was to fill four Election Committee constituency seats left vacant after Horace Cheung, Nelson Lam, Alice Mak and Sun Dong joined Chief Executive John Lee’s cabinet in July.

Only members of the 1,500-seat Election Committee, made up of pro-Beijing elites, are eligible to vote for the city’s chief executive. The constituency was expanded and its composition changed as part of a Beijing-led election overhaul in March 2021.

Voting on Sunday opened at 9 a.m. and closed at 11:30 a.m. According to the Registration and Electoral Office, 1,307 out of the total 1,441 Election Committee members voted, representing a turnout rate of 90.7 per cent.

Chan was the biggest winner with 1,028 votes. William Wong got 983 ballots, Ho won 833 votes and Shang secured 812. The two candidates who fell short – Wong Chi Him and FTU’s Lee Kwong Yu – received 791 and 781 votes respectively.

The turnout for the same constituency in the 2021 run was higher at 98.48 per cent, when 1,426 members of the Election Committee cast their ballots.

2022 Legco by-election
The Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), David Lok (second right); the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Erick Tsang (second left) emptied a ballot box at the central counting station of the 2022 Legislative Council Election Committee constituency by-election. Photo: GovHK.

When reporters asked about the drop in turnout after the by-election, the Chairperson of the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) David Lok said the commission would not comment on election turnouts, “but I think the level of turnout rate is determined by a lot of factors.”

‘Patriotic, Hong Kong-loving, rational’

Meeting with the press after the learning of the election results, Ho said he wanted to add his “patriotic, Hong Kong-loving and rational” voice to the legislature.

“I hope in the coming days, I can bring in a young voice with international vision and different experience to the council,” he added.

When lawmaker-elect Chan was asked a question in English about his aspirations after entering the Legislative Council, DAB chair Starry Lee and vice-chair Holden Chow answered on the registered Chinese medicine practitioner’s behalf.

“He has… his expertise in Chinese medicine, and of course going forward he would put a lot of effort in promoting and enhancing the entire industry and the use of Chinese medicine,” Chow said.

2022 Legco by-election
DAB’s Holden Chow speaks on behalf of lawmaker-elect Chan Wing-kwong when meeting the press on December 18. Photo: RTHK, via video screenshot.

The chief executive said in a statement on Sunday afternoon that he hopes the four new lawmakers will “under the executive-led system and the ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’ principle, create and develop an environment conducive for constructive policy debates.”

John Lee will administer the four’s oath-taking on Monday morning.

Advertisement consent row

According to local media, William Wong and Shang Hailong had allegedly failed to submit signed consent forms from the people they mentioned in election advertisements within the legal timeframe.

EAC notes to candidates state that a copy of the permission form should be submitted for public inspection within one working day after an advertisement is published. The maximum penalty for failing to do so will be HK$5,000 of fine and six months of imprisonment. The chief executive was spared from having to pay such penalties in August after admitting that he had not submitted three consent forms.

William Wong began publishing election advertisements on his Facebook page with names of political heavyweights such as Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to China’s legislature, in late November, but only started uploading the required consent documents on December 8.

As for Shang, Now News reported that he had published posts showing support from Executive Council member Ko Wing-man and the Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions, but did not submit their consent forms.

2022 Legco by-election
Lawmaker-elect Shang Hailong (second left) and William Wong (second right). Photo: RTHK, video screenshot.

Lok said the EAC had received six complaints over Sunday’s by-election, with the majority related to election advertisements.

“We are following up with the complaints. We also wrote to notify and remind candidates that they have to observe the relevant regulations. At this stage we are not commenting on individual cases,” the EAC chairperson added.

Shang told reporters on Sunday that “all people and organisations” supporting him had signed the consent forms and he had submitted those documents on time. “If there are any problems, please to ask the EAC.”

However, he admitted that he did not submit the consent forms of his two daughters, both of whom are under the age of 10. “Signing my daughters’ consent as their guardian to support myself, this does not seem to make sense,” he said.

Meanwhile, William Wong said he “would not answer the question” when asked if he worried his delayed submission of the advertisement consent would lead to challenges on the election outcome.

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.