Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Powerful rural group backs Carrie Lam, after she ‘followed people’s advice’ on illegal structures

Cheung Hok-ming, vice-chairman of the powerful rural body Heung Yee Kuk, said it has reached a consensus that its 27 election committee members are inclined to nominate chief executive contender Carrie Lam.

The former executive councillor and lawmaker said that he and chairman Kenneth Lau Ip-keung have accepted Lam’s invitation to be members of her campaign team. They will help Lam consolidate support within the Kuk, and the 60 election committee members belonging to the New Territories District Councils sector.

“We have had quite a lot of contact at work with Carrie Lam in the past, we have built quite a good working relationship,” he told i-Cable news.

Carrie Lam

Carrie Lam. File Photo: GovHK.

The decision came at a Kuk meeting on Monday which its election committee members attended. Lau, an incumbent lawmaker representing the Kuk, also confirmed the position on Tuesday.

The Kuk serves the interests of indigenous people of the New Territories. Certain male descendants have the right to build village houses of three storeys under the existing policy, but many have built extra structures on top of the three.

Lam, as the development secretary in 2011, put forward a system for villagers to register the illegal structures on their houses.

Small houses

Small houses. Photo: GovHK.

Lam then engaged in a difficult relationship with indigenous people over whether they should register, with some rural leaders claiming they would fight back with force if the government decided to demolish illegal structures.

But the issue soon faded out as the government chose not to tackle it actively.

Cheung told the news channel that Lam had given a five-year gap at the time to inspect the structures again, and the indigenous people all thought she “followed people’s advice.”

Last week, Kenneth Lau praised Lam for her work at the time, saying that she handled the issue well.

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Powerful rural group backs Carrie Lam, after she 'followed people's advice' on illegal structures