Former top cop to be next leader of Hong Kong?

Domestic News

John Lee, a former law enforcement official and a favored candidate to win, has announced his currently unopposed bid to be Hong Kong’s next leader.

Former top cop John Lee wants to rule Hong Kong. SCMP/Nora Tam via Reuters Connect.

John Lee Ka-chiu (李家超 Lǐ Jiāchāo), Hong Kong chief secretary and former secretary for security during the pro-democracy and anti-Beijing protests that began in 2019, said on Wednesday he had resigned in a bid to run in the city’s election for its top leadership position next month.

Lee is the favored candidate to win and the first government official to announce a bid for chief executive, with local media reporting that he will be the only one running in the election due to take place on May 8.

  • “If my resignation is approved by the Central People’s Government, I shall plan to prepare to stand for the upcoming chief executive election,” Lee said at a news conference.
  • Lee served as the chief secretary for less than a year after he was promoted last June, the first time a former police officer from the security branch of the government was handed the second-highest-ranked position in the administration.
  • Other candidates include the city’s finance minister, Paul Chan (陳茂波 Chén Màobō), per local media, although he has yet to express an intention to run.

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Reigning chief executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥 Lín Zhèng Yuè’é), who announced she would not run for reelection on Monday, said she had received his resignation and had submitted it to the central government. Lee has been on leave with immediate effect. Under Lam’s leadership, Hong Kong saw major protests and a subsequent crackdown ordered by Beijing.

The nomination period for the chief executive race opened last Sunday. Candidates must obtain at least 15 nominations from the Election Committee, the voting body that will decide the final outcome, and must also be vetted for national security to ensure a “patriots only” election, as required by last year’s electoral overhaul, to be in the running.

  • No chief executive has so far managed to complete two full terms. Previous incumbents have all struggled to satisfy both Beijing’s desire for control and citizens’ demands for greater freedoms.

Nadya Yeh