SCMP Monday, September 11, 2000


Six test their luck in three swinging seats


With three seats widely regarded as predictable and one of the 10 candidates a long outsider, the remaining six candidates in the Election Committee race battled it out yesterday for the three remaining seats.
Non-affiliated hopefuls Professor Ng Ching-fai, Ma Fung-kwok and Ng Leung-sing; Shiu Sin-por of the One Country, Two Systems Research Institute; Ho Sai-chu of the Liberal Party; and David Chu Yu-lin of the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance fought for last-minute support from the 800-strong Election Committee electorate.
Professor Ng, Mr Ma, Mr Ng, Mr Ho and Mr Chu were incumbents. First-time candidate, herbalist Ho Ka-cheong, was widely believed to have a minimal chance of victory.
Leaders of the Liberal Party and Hong Kong Progressive Alliance turned out to make a final effort on behalf of the incumbents. Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun showed up at the polling station in the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai to support Ho Sai-chu. Mr Tien said although Mr Ho's support seemed to have risen slightly over the past week, he was facing an uphill battle after the DAB and the alliance did not include him in their recommended list. He hoped Mr Ho could secure the fifth or sixth seat.
Mr Ho remained optimistic. ''I still have a chance [to win] though the competition was heavy,'' he said, adding that some professionals had pledged to back him.
Alliance chairman and Election Committee candidate Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen, along with party colleagues Maria Tam Wai-chu and Hui Cheung-ching, greeted voters at the polling station in Wan Chai to back Mr Chu.
''I am confident in winning. My chances don't hinge on what others say but what I do,'' Mr Chu said.
Ms Tam disagreed with some voters who said they had found it hard to find six candidates to vote for. ''I think if you really study their platform and qualifications and the fact that eight of them are incumbents, I am very surprised that some see there's no choice,'' she said.
Ng Leung-sing, who also was outside the polling station to boost support, said he had sent out a reminder by fax to more than 100 voters.
It is widely thought former Legco president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, Mr Lau and Yeung Yiu-chung, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, would win easily.
But Mrs Fan still circulated around the four polling stations drumming up support.