Hong Kong’s anti-corruption watchdog is looking into a case where a Legislative Council election candidate abruptly suspended his campaign last Thursday after citing threats to people around him.
Ken Chow Wing-kan, a member of the Liberal Party running in the New Territories West constituency, made the surprise announcement during a televised debate where he said he wanted to avoid “greater trouble” for people around him. Subsequently, he revealed a recording from one of rival candidate Junius Ho Kwan-yiu’s volunteers to the media, suggesting that a group of people would be “waiting for him” after the forum. Ho has since accused Chow of smearing his campaign.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on Monday confirmed to Chiu Yan-loy, a member of the pro-democracy Labour Party who earlier filed the case to the watchdog, that it has started the investigation to see if there is any violation of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance.
Earlier, Chow had claimed that a middleman offered him cash amounting to double his election spending in an effort to stop him from running, which he refused.
Both Chow and Ho have ties with indigenous people of the New Territories. But Chow has accused Ho of lying to the community, claiming that Ho was not one himself. Ho was also accused of being supported by the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan, with Chow issuing campaign materials last week that read: “Say no to Sai Wan ruling New Territories West.”
On Friday, Liberal Party’s Honorary president Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee quoted Chow as saying that the pressure which forced him to drop out of the race came from “a higher level” than his rival in the election, though he did not elaborate. Chow has refused to report the case to the police.
The full list of candidates running across districts and constituencies can be viewed here.