Beijing media hounds HK's Chief Secretary

Mrs Lam is seen as a top contender to succeed the outgoing Chief Executive.
Mrs Lam is seen as a top contender to succeed the outgoing Chief Executive.

HONG KONG • Hong Kong's No. 2 official Carrie Lam yesterday pleaded with the media to stop tailing her during her stay in Beijing.

She has attracted a media frenzy since her arrival in Beijing on Thursday amid intense speculation over her expected bid for Hong Kong's top job. Mrs Lam, 59, is seen as a top contender to succeed outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying, who made a surprise announcement earlier this month not to seek re-election. She has said at that time she would "re-consider" joining the leadership race.

Since then, she has remained tight-lipped about the issue, reported the South China Morning Post.

Mrs Lam told reporters that she will stay in Beijing until Monday to spend Christmas with her son, and insisted that she will not meet any mainland officials to discuss her potential candidacy in the leadership race next March.

" I will not meet any central government officials to discuss matters concerning the Chief Executive election," Mrs Lam, Hong Kong's Chief Secretary, was quoted saying by the Post.

"It is understandable that the media (is speculating on) my trip... but I am not here for a job interview. So I hope journalists can stop following me after tomorrow because I have not seen my son for a long time," she added. Her older son is working in Beijing.

Mrs Lam was on an official visit to Beijing until yesterday, when she held a high-profile and rare press conference in the Forbidden City. She was involved in organising events to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China.

So far, only two people have formally announced their candidacy for the race. They are Ms Regina Ip, a former secretary for security, and former judge Woo Kwok Hing.

Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang resigned on Dec 12 after indicating he would be running for the top job. But his resignation has yet to be approved by Beijing.

The Electoral Affairs Commission announced that the nomination period for the Chief Executive election will run from Feb 14 to March 1 next year. The vote will be held on March 26 next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2016, with the headline 'Beijing media hounds HK's Chief Secretary'. Print Edition | Subscribe