Conservation and pro-democracy candidate Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has become the biggest election story after winning a seat with a record number of votes and warning of “a storm” of violence in rural Hong Kong.
Chu, 38, a former Ming Pao journalist, topped the poll for NT West, which runs from South Lantau north to the Shenzhen border, with 82,000 votes – the highest for any single candidate. He campaigned on a platform of Heung Yee Kuk reform, Hong Kong self-determination and conservation, including opposition to the East Lantau Metropolis.
Chu broke down in tears briefly at a press conference this morning after thanking his supporters and family. He said he was followed on the last day of the election campaign by a car that he was told belonged to a Yuen Long landlord.
He warned of “a storm of political violence” in rural Hong Kong. He told reporters:
“On the collusion between the government, businesses, rural forces and the triads, there are things only I myself know,” he said tearfully, before thanking his wife for her support. “Not only myself, my family have been and will be facing a storm of political violence”.
Chu said his first act as Legco member will be to reform the kuk and “the problem of monopoly of political power in the rural area that affects the political atmosphere of the whole of Hong Kong.”
“We are witnessing political stress and political violence coming from the New Territories. That’s the first item I will put on the agenda of LegCo.”
A volunteer on his campaign said: “Eddie and his campaign have been risking their lives to run the campaign against black violence hidden in rural politics.”
Chu told an interview on RTHK that he was “shocked” by the level of support he had received, but thought it reflected his work in New Territories over the past ten years.
“I’m an independent candidate, no people and no money – we made this campaign as an experiment of organisation. I was totally shocked when I realised more than 80,000 voters voted for me.”
He said he hoped he had the support of “common indigenous villagers against the monopoly of power of Heung Yee Kuk by a small group of landlords and rich people.”
He believe the result also showed a hope, especially among young people, for a new direction for the democratic movement.
“We should say goodbye to the past democratic movement which followed strictly the Basic Law and all of the NPC decisions, which actually violate our democratic and political rights. We should say good-bye to that and the role forward is a self-determination campaign.”
He also said he hoped to organise indigenous villagers to compete in village elections in 2018.
One of Chu’s rivals, Kenneth Chow, a Heung Yee Kuk figure who was running as an independent, sensationally dropped out of the campaign two weeks ago, claiming threats to his family.
A tape emerged of volunteers working for Junius Ho, another Heung Yee Kuk leader running for NT West, apparently planning to attack Chow and his supporters.
Ho won the last seat in NT West and acknowledged that Chu’s ability to “suck votes” away was one of the reasons for his narrow victory. Ho thanked Beijing’s Central Liaison Office for its support, Stand News reported.