HK kids clothing chain founder, vaulted into spotlight by protest statue controversy, announces plan to run for Legco seat

08-Jul-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The owner of a Hong Kong children’s clothing store chain who sparked a political controversy last month by displaying an anti-government statue at one of his shops has announced plans to run in September’s Legislative Council elections.

The move could potentially put him in a head-to-head race with local sports official Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, widely believed to be the favoured pro-establishment candidate.

Riding on a recent wave of publicity, Chickeeduck founder and CEO Herbert Chow Siu-lung on Monday said he would contest for the seat of the functional constituency of sports, performing arts, culture and publication.

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The constituency is currently represented by pro-establishment Ma Fung-kwok, 65, who is believed unlikely to seek another term.

Fok, who is both vice-president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong and a delegate to China’s top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, has not yet announced plans to run.

Chow came into the media spotlight recently after displaying a protest statue in his store at the D-Park shopping centre in Tsuen Wan. He was quickly ordered to remove the statue by the mall operator and its management company, which is part of the New World conglomerate.

He eventually removed the feature, claiming “political suppression”, and later said he had been ordered to vacate the location when his lease expired.

But Chow on Monday said it was broader problems with Hong Kong’s election system that motivated him to run.

“I recently watched two local productions, a film and a musical, which made me wonder if future productions will have creative freedom [under the national security law],” Chow said. “But I found out the people who work in these industries do not have voting rights.”

The constituency has 4,163 voters who must be members of specific groups in the sector.

Chow added his daughter was pursuing a directing career in the United States and although she wanted to return to Hong Kong, she was deterred by the tightening restrictions on creative freedom.

“If this continues, how will we be able to attract talent from overseas?” he asked.

Separately, the city’s opposition camp, optimistic after its landslide victory in November’s district council elections, said it plans to begin its new primary process this weekend as it starts to winnow down its field of candidates in September’s polls.

Benny Tai Yiu-ting, co-founder of the 2014 Occupy movement, who spearheaded the concept of a primary system, said they had nothing to fear despite Beijing’s imposition of the national security law.

“As a man who has studied common law for decades, I do not see anything we are going to do that would be unlawful under the national security legislation,” Tai said. “I hope people will not be scared away. It is the citizens’ right to take part in activities organised by a civil organisation.”

About 250 booths will be set up on roadsides, at councillors’ offices and so-called “yellow shops”, those publicly identifying with the protest movement, across the city’s five geographical constituencies.

Participants have to show up in person in their respective constituency to register and then vote through a mobile app, or via paper ballot.


Category: Hong Kong

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