Pro-Beijing lawmaker and lawyer Junius Ho has lost his bid to be re-elected onto the governing council of the Law Society, ending his 22 years of service at the professional body of the city’s solicitors.
Ho came last in the race on Friday, securing only 572 votes out of 8,148 from his peers in the legal industry. The lawmaker was competing with seven other candidates.
Before entering the election venue, reporters asked Ho if he was confident of being re-elected. The lawmaker replied: “Ya.”
Five candidates were elected onto the council: Robert Rhoda, Jonathan Ross, Denis Brock, Stephen Hung Wan-shun and Billy Ma Wah-yan.
The election results came after Ho filed a defamation lawsuit against lawyer Kevin Yam, who wrote an op-ed published by local media urging solicitors not to vote for Ho in the election.
Yam said in a statement on Friday: “As I found out the results… I burst out uncontrollably in tears at home.” However, he urged people not to “express any sense of schadenfreude over [Ho’s] non-election.”
“Mr. Ho has devoted over 20 years of his life in service to the profession through the Law Society Council. This fact alone deserves our respect,” he said.
In a legal document, Ho described himself as a “professional of high standing and moral character” and a “well-known philanthropist.” He said Yam’s article had “tarnished and gravely injured” his reputation, in particular among his peers in the legal profession.
He argued that Yam’s article was “calculated to disparage [him] in the way of how [he] acted as a Law Society Council Member, LegCo Member and generally as a legal practitioner in Hong Kong.”
The lawmaker is seeking damages and a court order to bar Yam from republishing the article and making similar statements against him. He also requested an apology from Yam and the removal of the article from media outlets.
Earlier this month, Yam published an op-ed listing seven reasons why lawyers should not vote for Ho in the Law Society council election.
The reasons were based on statements made by Ho in the past, including his comparison between homosexuality and bestiality. Yam also commented on the remarks, such as saying that Ho is “homophobic.”
In his rebuttal published by Hong Kong Free Press, Ho said Yam’s allegations were “not true and without any substance.”
Ho has been serving as a council member of the Law Society since 1995. He was the president between 2011 and 2012.