China

Hong Kong elections: The young winners who unseated political veterans

People queue to cast their vote in front of a "Lennon Wall" adorned with tattered posters Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A record breaking number of people turned out to vote

Hong Kong's district elections have delivered an unprecedented landslide victory for the city's pro-democracy movement, leaving the government reeling.

For months, young people have visibly been at the helm of demonstrations, protests and clashes, sparked by a now-withdrawn extradition bill which morphed into a broader cry for democracy and police accountability.

These elections saw many young and novice candidates take on political heavyweights - in the name of Hong Kong's democracy movement - and emerge victorious.

Here are four of their stories.

The activist: Jimmy Sham

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jimmy Sham has been attacked twice this year

In the months since the protest movement began, Jimmy Sham has been beaten up twice - by unknown hammer and bat-wielding assailants for reasons that still remain unclear.

Nevertheless the 32-year-old leader of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), one of Hong Kong's largest pro-democracy groups which has organised several major rallies, has emerged one of the biggest winners.

He won his seat in the Lek Yuen constituency by almost 1,000 votes over the incumbent Michael Wong of the pro-Beijing Civil Force.

Mr Sham might have risen to prominence as leader of the CHRF but he has been an active LGBT rights campaigner for years and even in the last few months his gay identity became the focus of attacks on him on social media.

The most recent physical assault on Mr Sham in October left him lying in the street and covered in blood. The CHRF linked that attack to government supporters.

He persisted with his vocal campaign and is quoted as saying after his victory: "No matter how strong Carrie Lam is I hope she can comply with the wishes of the people, fulfil the five demands [and] give the youngsters a chance."

The graduate: Karrine Fu

Image copyright KARRINE FU FACEBOOK

Karrine Fu won her Fort Street constituency by the smallest of margins - just 59 votes.

The 23-year-old was born and bred in the Fortress Hill area. She is a third-generation Fujianese Hong Konger - so is part of a community who came over from China's Fujian province and which is known to be more conservative and pro-Beijing.

It makes her victory all the more remarkable.

She defeated the incumbent, 45-year-old Hung Lin Cham, a secondary school teacher representing the main pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), who won the past three elections without contest.

He is also of Fujianese descent and has held sway over this relatively conservative pro-Beijing stronghold since 2007.

According to news outlet HK01, Ms Fu, an arts graduate from the University of Hong Kong, decided to run in the district elections precisely because of the anti-government protests.

She told the news outlet that she felt "encouraged" to do more for Hong Kong as a result of the movement. Reports say she was offered a job in a school but turned it down because of the protests.

The student: Jordan Pang

Image copyright Jordan Pang/Facebook
Image caption The university leader beat "triple councillor" Horace Cheung

By winning the Sai Wan constituency last night, a fourth-year politics and public administration student took out one of the biggest political scalps of the election: Horace Cheung.

Mr Cheung is the vice-chairman of the DAB - Hong Kong's largest pro-Beijing party.

Jordan Pang made his name with his articulacy and passionate advocacy of the protesters' cause as leader of the Hong Kong University Students' Union.

He defeated Mr Cheung, a 45-year-old solicitor who had represented Sai Wan since 2011, by almost 800 votes: a man who was known as a "triple councillor" having held positions in the district council, Legislative Council and Executive Council.

His opponent said the results of the elections were "not much to do with local district work".

In a statement on Facebook, Mr Pang said he was "humbled" by the victory but added that there was "still a long road ahead".

The 21-year-old is one of several high-profile student leaders who have received threatening anonymous messages. Mr Pang said he was told to surrender to the police, or face death - but he continued with his campaign.

"The victory today and record-shattering turnout rate reflects exactly the voice of the people amidst this critical plight," he told supporters.

The compliance officer: Cary Lo

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Image caption Cary Lo of the Democratic Party won by around 1,200 votes

In what is being celebrated as perhaps the most unexpected victory by pro-democracy activists, Cary Lo of the Democratic Party unseated pro-Beijing politician Junius Ho.

The 37-year-old compliance officer beat Mr Ho - one of the city's most controversial politicians - by around 1,200 votes in the Lok Tsui constituency.

Mr Ho, a 57-year-old lawyer, became a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council in 2016 and so he remains a lawmaker.

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Media captionA winner and a loser in Hong Kong's historic poll result

But he has recently become a hate-figure among pro-democracy activists, who accused him of helping orchestrate an attack on activists and passers-by in the district of Yuen Long.

He denies such links but the anger persisted and earlier this month he was stabbed while campaigning by a man who pretended to be one of his supporters.

After the results came out, images of crowds apparently cheering his defeat were circulated on social media.

"I'm moved, the opposition overwhelmed me with congratulations," said Mr Ho on social media. "It is not a bad things to transform their brutality to harmony."

As far as the man who defeated him goes, his Facebook campaign page features footage of him jogging along Hong Kong's waterfront amid friendly exchanges with residents.

For all his campaign cunning, many analysts would argue that simply being an alternative to Junius Ho was Cary Lo's major advantage.

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