Newly-elected district councillor Andy Chui Chi-kin has set up an office outdoors, as he has been unable to take over the local office of his predecessor, pro-Beijing lawmaker Christopher Chun Shu-kun.
Chui posted a photo on his Facebook page with the caption “Officially starting the outdoor office today. First station [is] the public space near Lok Hin Terrace. Dates, times and venues of fieldwork will be announced on this page as soon as possible in the future. Residents can find us to talk about issues of the district anytime.”
Chung of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) lost his district council seat for the Yue Wan constituency to Chui in November last year. Outgoing councillors’ offices are usually handed over to their replacements. However, as Chung is still a member of the Legislative Council, he applied to the Housing Authority (HA) to extend his use of the office.
One netizen commented: “The weather is cold. Remember to wear more clothes!” Author and radio host Cheuk Wan-chi posted Chui’s photo on Facebook, and wrote: “What’s happening in the world? People who genuinely work hard can’t even rent an office.”
Chui posted on his Facebook page that there are many grey areas in HA’s regulations concerning councillors’ offices. He stated that the HA’s goal should be to offer offices to councillors so they can serve residents in the district and noted that Chung’s application for the extension of use as a lawmaker contradicts this aim.
Chui also posted the news that he has found a private space to use as a temporary office. However, the office is not in the Yue Wan district, and he has to pay the rent himself without any subsidies from the government. He added that some districts have higher rents, and district councillors like Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying of the Tai Hang constituency may need to pay more than HK$20,000 to rent an office.
“Why aren’t the Home Affairs Department and government offering help, such as by providing a place for them [district councillors] to work or help to find an office? Please don’t turn councillors into stray cats,” Chui posted.
Another newly-elected councillor, Yip Wing of the Labour Party, also still does not have an office.
Along with district councillors Au Nok-hin and James Chan Kwok-keung, Chui and Yip submitted a letter of complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday.
Chui posted on Facebook on January 7 that the constituency’s HA had promised to set up an office in a mall for him, but the building work may take up to 11 months.