In a new revelation, pro-Beijing Liberal Party election candidate Ken Chow Wing-kan said it was three people “from Beijing” who forced him to drop out of the Legislative Council race on August 25. Before that, he was urged on multiple occasions not to run, as his candidacy could harm the chances of a fellow pro-Beijing candidate securing the final seat in New Territories West.
He said at a press conference on Wednesday that a day before he decided to make the surprise announcement to suspend his campaign, he was invited by a friend whom he had known for over a decade to meet in Shenzhen – where the friend lived. The friend wanted to discuss “important issues” related to his campaign.
But when he arrived at a hotel in Shenzhen, he was introduced to the three people, who asked him to halt his campaign. According to Chow, the trio were holding important information of people close to him.
“I don’t know how they knew, including people very close to my family circle, important friends who support me, their backgrounds, income sources, habits – they read them out one by one, I started to feel afraid,” he said.
“You realise this information is beyond the reach of all private investigators. Then they said if you don’t follow our orders, they will take action immediately, that those who support me will pay a heavy price.”
He said he was asked to do three things: stop attending all election debates; suspend all election campaigns; and leave Hong Kong as soon as possible until the final vote count was complete.
“So the second day, I bought a ticket in a hurry to go,” he said. “I am sorry I could not say anything back then.”
Chow flew to the UK, where he remained until his return on Monday: “There is CCTV everywhere [in the UK] – I feel much safer.”
However, Chow said he was being followed in Britain.
He said that the three who threatened him were above the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong. But he refused to reveal their identities, concerned that he may get into bigger trouble.
Asked as to why he did not report the case to the police, he said: “You know this is outside their jurisdiction, no matter if it’s the Electoral Affairs Commission, the police, or the Independent Commission Against Corruption, they cannot handle things that happen outside of Hong Kong, and the people involved were not from Hong Kong.”
The Shenzhen meeting came after three meetings between him and two different groups of friends, who asked him to drop out.
Chow said two friends from “authorities stationed in Hong Kong” – suggesting Chinese ones – invited him to meet at a restaurant in Sha Tin on July 13, saying that “you were not blessed” to take a seat in the New Territories West area.
In response, Chow said he did not require blessings. The pair then said they may be able to help as “there are a lot of positions in government,” but Chow refused.
On July 17, two days before he submitted his nomination to run, he met with a friend from Yuen Long and in the catering business, who he had known for more than 20 years. Chow described the person as someone who “was working on many things for the country in private.”
The friend offered him a monetary amount equal to double his election spending: HK$5 million at a cafe in Gold Coast, Tuen Mun. The sum would be in return of him not running in the election. Chow also refused.
On July 19, the day he submitted his nomination, Chow said the two friends who met him in Sha Tin asked him once again not to run.
“They said it will cause the pro-Beijing camp to lose altogether, including Leung Che-cheung and Junius Ho Kwan-yiu,” he said.
Chow said the two friends told him that Ho had secured 17,000 votes from the indigenous people’s community – those from the rural politician Chan Keung. Ho could garner another 10,000 votes, according to their results in the 2012 Legislative Council election, so Ho “would likely win a seat.”
“I told them – those 17,000 votes [from Chan] will not switch to Ho,” he said, adding that Ho had irreconcilable differences with the indigenous people community.
“Many indigenous people told me if there was not another person from the community running in the election, they would support me,” he added. “But after [the July 19 meeting], the indigenous leaders suddenly told me ‘sorry Ken, we are in not a convenient position to support you anymore’.”
“What happened before [the switch]? You can guess the reason,” Chow said.
On Monday, Ho won the last seat of nine-seat New Territories West constituency with only 5,000 votes more than the tenth-placed Lee Cheuk-yan of the Labour Party.
“It’s a manipulated election,” he said.