Hong Kong area committees count former basketball star, tycoon’s son and daughter of ex-beauty queen among new members

The offspring of Hong Kong tycoons and well-known families, as well as a star basketball player, are among government appointees to three neighbourhood committees whose job is to work with district councils to improve public services.

The new faces include Arnaldo Ho Yau-heng, son of late Macau casino king Stanley Ho Hung-sun, Fiona Tong Pui-yan, daughter of Isabella Kau Hung-ping, a businesswoman and runner-up in the 1982 Miss Hong Kong beauty contest, and former Hong Kong basketball player Yung Kam-wah, nicknamed “Asia’s three-point king shooter”.

A political commentator from a Beijing loyalist think tank on Tuesday said the new line-up could boost the profiles of the three committees and the home affairs chief added she was confident the fresh members would contribute to the security and happiness of the public.

The latest recruits are part of the 2,999 members of the “three committees” appointed by the city government to work with the 18 district councils, overhauled by Beijing to ensure the “patriots only” ruling principle.

Arnaldo Ho, 25, the son of casino king Stanley Ho, has become an area committee member in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters

The government said as the new members started their two-year terms on Monday that it hoped the committees and the district councils would improve their collaboration.

Newcomers made up almost a third – 977 members – of the committees.

The new faces also included Hong Kong energy giant CLP’s chief corporate development officer Quince Chong Wai-yan, Gilly Wong Fung-han, the chief executive of the Consumer Council, and Allen Shi Lop-tak, a former president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association.

At least five members are from ethnic minority groups, including three candidates who lost out in the district council geographical constituency elections – trading company owner Muhammad Fakhrul Islam, whose Chinese name is Sun Yat-sen, Baljinder “Jimmy” Singh, the head of a security firm, and Ilyas Mohammad, a logistics company owner.

All 470 Hong Kong district councillors appointed to 3 neighbourhood committees

“I think the ethnic minority representation is still low. I hope the government will review the situation and make a change after the current term ends in 2026,” Mohammad said.

But, in the run up to last December’s district council election, potential opposition camp candidates complained about difficulty in contacting members of the three committees to ask for nominations.

Professor Lau Siu-kai of semi-official Beijing-based think tank the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies said the diverse line-up would help boost recognition of the committees.

“More importantly, they show their support and respect to the new political order Beijing has passed down by joining the committees, not only to locals but also to the global observers,” Lau added.

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Under the revamped electoral system, the three committees, originally set up for better district management, have been granted more power, including powers to nominate candidates for district council elections and 176 district councillors, about 37 per cent of the total.

The new line-up for the three committees also includes all 470 district councillors, as well as 110 people who lost their bid for election in last December’s poll.

Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen said on Tuesday the authorities did not consider whether the individuals had taken part in elections or how many votes they had received when appointments to the committees were decided.

“Our criteria are if the candidate loves both the city and the country and is familiar with, and committed to, serving the communities,” she said. “There is no rule or legislation that states individuals who have taken part in elections and lost are prohibited from taking part in social service.”


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