The Verdict On Alex Ho
It was two weeks ago that the case of Alex Ho broke open. You will remember that he was the Hong Kong Democratic Party candidate for the Legislative Council who was caught patronizing a prostitute on mainland China (see post). At this time, he is under re-education detention in Dongguan, but he is still eligible for the election on September 12, 2004.
Alex Ho was the third name in a Democratic Party ticket. There are three options opened to the Democratic Party with respect to Alex Ho.
Defend Alex Ho's innocence. For example, this is can be the political
persecution defense that claims that the whole case was a frame-up.
Indeed, this was the initial strategy when the Democratic Party held a
press conference on the evening before the story was going to break out
the next morning. However, this prompted the mainland Public Security
Bureau to release the details of the evidence. Since then, the
Democratic Party has refrained from this line of defense. But it is
still possible for them to ask people to assume Ho's innocence until he
has a chance to explain his side of the story.
Option 2: Drop
Alex Ho from their campaign. This does not have to be an admission
of Ho's guilt, but it can be a simple acknowledgement that Ho would be
ineffective during this campaign. As a pragmatic matter, Alex Ho was
the third candidate on the list and has no chance of being elected anyway
(note: only their first candidate Fred Li will likely get in).
Option 3: Pretend that Alex Ho does not exist. Thus Fred Li has been telling people that when they vote for the list, they will be voting for Fred Li and not anyone else. This is the wishy-washy solution that they used for a while.
However, the reality of the polling numbers may have finally sunk in. According to the rolling Hong Kong University POP poll, here are the support numbers for the Fred Li list:
August 4- 8: 16.3%
August 9-13: 16.6%
August 14-18: 11.5%
August 19-23: 10.0%
August 24-28: 7.8%
In a recent campaign stop, Fred Li was embarrassed by a group of school children who wanted to know if he patronized prostitutes. More generally, the Democrat Party candidates everywhere have been heckled in public appearances as The Party That Patronizes Prostitutes (叫 雞 黨 ).
So a decision has been made. Fred Li has admitted outright that keeping Alex Ho on the list makes the election campaign extremely difficult. Therefore, the Democratic Party will spend the extra money to print a brand new set of campaign materials (fliers, posters and banners) in which the name and image of Alex Ho is removed. Option #2 is now the order of the day. This is now the time for the armchair critics to do their hindsight analyses.