Hong Kong Politics & Protest

‘Undercover’ assistant to run in District Council election against his former boss Michael Tien

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Chiu Yan-loy, former assistant to pro-Beijing New People’s Party (NPP) district councillor and lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun has joined the upcoming District Council election to run against his then-boss. Previously, the assistant had revealed he was an “undercover” at the party, before joining the pro-democracy Labour Party.

Although Chiu was never a member of the NPP, he worked in the party for four years. In the last District Council election, he helped Tien to win his seat in Tsuen Wan’s Discovery Park constituency before revealing that he had in fact been “undercover” in the NPP. He then joined the pro-democracy Labour Party.

Michael Tien (left) and Chiu Yan-loy (right)

Michael Tien (left) and Chiu Yan-loy (right). Photo: Apple Daily.

Chiu told Next Magazine in 2013 that he was active in the group the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China. He said he had a close relationship with the Alliance’s now-deceased former chairman Szeto Wah, who also co-founded the Democratic Party.

Szeto encouraged him to go “undercover” as an assistant when he applied to work for Tien, which he did until his cover was blown in 2012. He expressed suspicions that the China Liaison Office—which had been monitoring him—revealed his true identity to the NPP.

Home turf
Chiu, now nominated by the Labour Party to stand against his former boss, told Apple Daily that he did not choose Tien’s constituency in order to run against him, but simply because he grew up in the district.

Chiu said that he was “confident” about the election, and that his advantage was “being young, willing to do things and eager to fight.” Chiu said that he hoped to reform the District Council, change the government’s current public consultation model and raise residents’ participation in the community.

He added that he was also concerned about the amount of tourists visiting the Discovery Park mall and squeezing out small businesses, as well as the issue of bus routes and noise from the nearby MTR depot.

Chiu Yan-loy (left) when he was still working for Michael Tien (right) in 2012

Chiu Yan-loy (left) when he was still working for Michael Tien (right) in 2012. Photo: Next Media.

“Practical work”

In response to Chiu’s campaign, Michael Tien told the newspaper that he had “showed performance” in the past four years by dealing with issues around bus routes and noise from the nearby MTR depot.

“If I criticise my opponent and say how bad he is, that is just politics; that is what my opponent is doing. I can’t think of anything he has done in the past four years, as it was mostly piggybacking,” he added.

Tien also said that Chiu’s campaign focussed on the same issues as his own campaign. Using the Discovery Park mall as an example, Tien said that “some people – who do not do practical work, but politics only – know only one thing: to protest with banners. That may work in dealing with the government, but not with private enterprises.”

Tien said he would talk to developers to push for change.

Tien also questioned Chiu’s comment that Szeto Wah had encouraged him to go undercover. “The Szeto Wah I knew was strong on principle… he would not have asked his subordinate to do such thing.”

The district council elections will take place on November 22.

'Undercover' assistant to run in District Council election against his former boss Michael Tien