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Thursday, October 27, 2016, 21:16

Retired judge first to join CE race

By Joseph Li
Retired judge first to join CE race
Woo Kwok-hing, former vice president of the Court of Appeal, waves to the media after a press conference on Thursday, to formally declare he will join the 2017 Chief Executive election. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

Former judge Woo Kwok-hing announced he will participate in the 2017 Chief Executive election because he wants to unite Hong Kong — which he says has become too divided.

In declaring his intention to run in the race on Thursday, the former vice president of the Court of Appeal described himself as very suitable person for the top post.

Woo Kwok-hing's core campaign platform was to restart HK's electoral reform process

He argued that there is no other potential candidate more neutral and impartial than he.

Woo told a fully packed press conference Thursday afternoon of his intention to run in the CE race just a day after the news was widely spread around.

He is the first one to announce his intention although several names in political circles have been mentioned as possible contenders.

In his brief opening remarks, he said Hong Kong had become too polarized and fragmented. It has now reached a political stalemate.

“I believe my experience as a barrister and a judge for 46 years has imparted in me a deep understanding of multiple aspects of Hong Kong society and culture.

“My integrity and neutrality has never been in doubt,” he said.

Woo added that he will heal the divisions in society to ensure Hong Kong’s best overall interests are served.

At the press conference, Woo was also asked whether he, as a judge for a long part of career, lacked experience in dealing with public policies such as housing, health and education.

Retired judge first to join CE race
Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing announces his bid to become the city' s next chief executive at a press conference in Wan Chai on Oct 27, 2016. (Roy Liu/China Daily)
He responded that he has always listened to the views of both sides before reaching a conclusion. Similarly, if he is elected CE, he will listen to the opinions of different people during the policy formulation process.

As a judge, Woo’s political stance was previously unknown but he did express some of his political views at the press conference.

Woo said he supports the “One Country, Two systems” principle and the Basic Law. He also noted that Hong Kong had a constitutional duty to enact a national security law under Article 23 of the Basic Law 19 years after reunification.

In his view, there is nothing to fear about Article 23 because the proposed offenses already exist in other ordinances.

Discussing the illegal “Occupy Central” protests, he said the protesters were wrong in not obtaining a Notice of No Objection from the police in advance.

If people ignore the court’s injunction orders to remove the barricades, they will be guilty of contempt of court, he added.

Woo also said constitutional reform had generated enormous divisions and conflicts. The issue should be resolved within the next five years. There is a chance to resolve the deadlock if the CE submits a full report to the central government after a consultation and consensus which reflects people’s views, he added.

He also said public nomination is not consistent with Article 45 of the Basic Law.

Woo was chairman of Electoral Affairs Commission from 1993 to 2006, and the commissioner on interception of communications and surveillance from 2006 to 2012.

He was also in charge of the commission of inquiry into the 1996 Garley Building fire and the chaotic opening of Chek Lap Kok airport in 1998.

READ MORE : New requirement for CE candidates announced

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