HK politicians allege death threats over Legco polls

Social activist-turned-lawmaker Eddie Chu (centre) and lawyer Michael Vidler arriving at Wan Chai Police headquarters yesterday. Mr Chu said he had received "credible death threats" against him and his family.
Social activist-turned-lawmaker Eddie Chu (centre) and lawyer Michael Vidler arriving at Wan Chai Police headquarters yesterday. Mr Chu said he had received "credible death threats" against him and his family.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

One of them has been unable to return home after winning seat; police probing the case

After a stunning victory in Sunday's Legislative Council (Legco) elections, securing the highest number of votes for a geographical constituency seat, Mr Eddie Chu has not been able to return home.

The father of a five-year-old girl told the media yesterday outside Wan Chai Police headquarters, where he had gone to make a report, that he has received "credible death threats" against him and his family.

The Security Bureau, in a statement yesterday, said the Secretary of Security "attached great importance" to the case and the police were "meeting the parties concerned and will take suitable measures to ensure their personal safety". Mr Chu, 38, and his family have temporarily moved out of their home in the New Territories.

"We have a home that we can't return to," he told the media.

"We still believe Hong Kong is a place that allows freedom of speech. We still believe Hong Kong allows us to freely express our views," said the social activist-turned-lawmaker. "But when a lawmaker elected with 84,121 votes can't even go back to his home and is threatened with death because of his political views, I think we can only say the rule of law is really gone."

Sunday's polls saw a record turnout of 2.2 million voters and a new generation of young politicians elected into the Legislative Council.

Mr Chu is one of several contenders who have come out to say that they have received threats for running in the Legco elections.

In the days leading up to Sunday's polls, pan-democrat Andrew Wan, who won in the same six-seat constituency, said he was tailed and had received razor blades and death threats in the mail on two separate occasions, the latest incident happening on Tuesday.

Two days ago, pro-Beijing candidate Ken Chow, who also ran in the same constituency as Mr Chu, alleged that three people from Beijing had threatened to harm him and his family if he continued with his campaign. Mr Chow, who is from the Liberal Party, said he left for Britain on Aug 26 and returned only after the polls. He polled 1,469 votes and failed to win a seat.

Sunday's polls saw a record turnout of 2.2 million voters and a new generation of young politicians - some of them localists like Mr Chu who had called for self-determination - elected into the Legco.

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Political analyst Ivan Choy told The Straits Times this is the first time that a newly elected lawmaker has received death threats after an election. "Mr Chu received a high percentage of votes. It would make Hong Kong people wonder if Hong Kong police can still protect Hong Kong citizens," he said.

However, he said that without details of the threats or the people behind them, it is inappropriate to link the incidents to Beijing.

Mr Chu said yesterday he has sent letters to ask for help from Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying and Police Commissioner Stephen Lo.

Declining to reveal more details about the threats as he does not want to hinder the police's investigation, Mr Chu said he has sought advice from security experts on how to protect himself and his family.

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On Monday, after the poll results were announced, Mr Chu had said he was told that some people were going to attack him because his campaign threatened to expose the "collusion" of government, rural leaders, businessmen and triads.

Mr Chu claimed that he was already tailed by two cars on polling day. The threats have since "escalated" to a point where he feels his safety and that of his family have been endangered.

Yesterday, Mr Wan, 47, of the Democratic Party, said, like Mr Chu, that he is more worried about the safety of his family and hopes that the police will take the threats more seriously.

"My party members have made several police reports about the threats I have received. On Sept 2, my campaign vehicle was found covered with flammable liquid. The police dismissed our complaints and said perhaps the liquid had been spilled on my car because there was a construction site nearby," Mr Wan told The Straits Times.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'HK politicians allege death threats over Legco polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe