Hong Kong democrats hold primary despite security law warning

Updated 12 Jul 2020

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Voters queue up to vote during primary elections aimed for selecting democracy candidates in Hong Kong on Saturday.—Reuters
Voters queue up to vote during primary elections aimed for selecting democracy candidates in Hong Kong on Saturday.—Reuters

HONG KONG: Pro-democracy parties in Hong Kong held primary polls on Saturday to choose candidates for upcoming legislative elections despite warnings from government officials that it may be in breach of a new security law imposed by China.

Thousands queued in the intense summer heat at unofficial polling stations across the city hours after police raided an opinion pollster helping to conduct the vote.

“The more Hong Kong people were suppressed, the firmer Hong Kong people stand,” democracy campaigner Benny Tai, a legal scholar and co-organiser of the primary, said as voting got under way at 250 polling stations.

After polls closed at 9pm on Saturday, organisers said almost 230,000 people had cast their votes, adding that the number was higher-than-expectation. Voting in the two-day primary will continue on Sunday.

“We’ve reached our basic (turn out) target, but we won’t be satisfied by this ... The more people come out to vote, the higher the primary is recognised,” former lawmaker and one of the primary’s organisers Au Nok-hin said on Saturday night.

“Under the new national security law, no one knows how many pro-democracy candidates would be allowed to run in the upcoming LegCo election. They could possibly be disqualified by the government under the new law,” a 34-year-old voter who gave her surname as Poon said near a polling station in Tseung Kwan O district.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2020