Former pan-democrat Frederick Fung strikes back against criticisms of vote splitting

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By Daphne Li

Veteran democrat, now independent Frederick Fung Kin-kee describes his candidacy in the Kowloon West By-election as an “advocacy of democracy” and “declaration of war” to his former pan-democratic allies.

Fung, former chairman of the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, says he is upset with Lee Cheuk-yan being picked as a backup candidate after top choice Lau Siu-lai was disqualified, without a primary election.

The 65-year-old veteran lawmaker calls this an “undemocratic” act: “The way you [Lau Siu-lai] appoint Lee Cheuk-yan is problematic, it’s like an emperor picking his royal concubines.”

He believes a primary election is the only way to unite the opposition camp and sees the lack of it as a big step backward in the progress of democracy.

“Years ago, we bargained with the central government and successfully urged them to include ‘universal suffrage in the selection of the Chief Executive’ in the Basic Law,” he says. “So why are we going backwards now?”

Fung’s candidacy has drawn criticisms of vote splitting among the pro-democracy camp, but he thinks otherwise. “I got 30,000 to 60,000 votes throughout the years in Kowloon West,” he says. “But Lee Cheuk-yan and the Labour Party basically did nothing here.”

He says since the beginning of his election campaign, there have been malicious attacks and political smears against him: “I found it unacceptable that the pan-democrats are using these undemocratic speeches and ways to attack me.”

Despite losing support from his former allies, Fung says he has gained more support from young people this time, including those with localist background who disapprove of the pan-democrats, compared to the Legislative Council by-elections earlier this year.

Speaking of future plans, Fung says even if he loses in this by-election, he will not stop his advocacy for democracy. “I will continue to run for elections if the pan-democrats keep addressing the problem in an undemocratic way,” he says.

*The other candidates in the 2018 Legislative Council Kowloon West By-election are Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan, Judy Tzeng Li-wen, Lee Cheuk-yan and Ng Dick-hay.

Edited by John Cheng