Big Discovery in Hong Kong

Both Apple Daily and Ming Pao covered what must be the first big Internet-fueled political storm in Hong Kong.  While there have been many political storms in the past, this is the first one in which the principal information is a lot of email correspndence which are published on a blog.

The blog is titled Big Discovery (重大發現).  It is hosted at and run by someone with the blogger alias of Brother Real (真兄弟).

The first blog post appeared on May 8, 2006 and on May 16, the two major Hong Kong newspaper reported on it.  Neither English-language newspaper mentioned this.  Is the information authentic?  So far, some of the principals have verified the contents of the published emails.  However, there is a huge debate about the identity of the blogger and his intent.  Some of the quoted emails are here:

Sender: Prof. KM Chan
Recipient: brother real + Reformers' Group Email Group

Date: 2006/5/5 6:17 pm
Subject: Re: Big Discovery

Dear Real Brother: Don't know why you don't use your real name if you are a
real brother. I guess you are the one who released the name list! Go to Hell!

寄件者: Raymond Luk
收件者: brother real + 改革派舊電郵組
: 2006/5/6 下午 5:01
主旨: Re: 請誠心討論

[in translation]
Sender: Raymond Luk
Recipient: brother real + Reformers' Group Email Group
Date: 2006/5/6 5:01pm
Subject: Re: Please discuss sincerely
Fall on the street!  You are just a "hacker" and you watch every word of our discussion without compunction.  You are really a shameless slimy thief!
I fuck your mother!  You don't dare to reveal your real name.  You are not in the "reformer group" (you don't even know that we changed the name from "reformer group" a long time ago, so how much weight do you carry?)

Here are the newspaper reports in translation.

(Apple Daily)

[in translation]

Even as the case of bribed or infiltrated members has not yet gone to rest, the Democratic Party is seeing a new internal fight.  On last Monday, members of the Democratic Party received an anonymous email that attempts to provoke a fight between the mainstream party elements and the youth elements.  The email includes a link to a blog, which published what is believed to the email correspondence among the youth elements during the time when bribery and infiltration were suspected.  Party sources said that it is possible that a hacker might have intercepted the email correspondence and then published them on a blog in order to provoke internal fighting.  The black hand behind the curtain may be inside or outside the party, or even mainland Chinese people.

The URL of the blog is and the blogger goes by the name "Brother Real."  The website published many pieces of email, with the senders being Democratic Party vice-chairman K.M. Chan, Democratic Party district councilor Kwong Kwok-chun, Gary Fan and "Brother real" himself.  The contents are about who leaked to the media, the list of Democratic Party members who have been bribed or infiltrated, the analysis of the internal situation of the Party, guesses at the next steps of the mainstream elements, whether to sue the media which published the list of names, and whether to force the media to handover the list.

The blog said the youth elements described the not-very-tall Party chairman Lee Wing-tat as "Tall Tat", Cheung Man-kwong as "White Fan" (note: this is a triad term for 'counselor'), Yeung Sum as "YS", Martin Lee as "Ting Ting."  A Party member has verified that the contents of the emails published in the blog are authentic, and believes that someone wants to provoke an internal fight within the Party through the publication of these emails.

The victim Gary Fan was interviewed by this newspaper, and said that he had earlier received an anonymous email that provided a link to this blog.  He did not know how much of it is real.  "I don't exclude the possibility that this was a joke."  He will not take this seriously.  He will treat this as a serial novel.  He thinks someone wants to provoke an internal fight in the Democratic Party.

Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat said that he received the anonymous email on Monday, along with all the members of the central committee of the Democratic Party.  He did not know whether the contents are real and it is difficult to verify.  No party member has requested this incident to be discussed.

The Democratic Party's special policy group chairman Cheung Yin-tung said that they have tried to contact the anonymous sender via email but there is no reply as yet.  He did not know whether the sender is a party member or not.  After reading the blog, he felt that certain of the materials are serious allegations.  If verified, it would assist the work of the special group a great deal.  The Democratic Party standing committee will discuss this matter on Thursday.

(Ming Pao)

[in translation]

Earlier, there was an incident about suspected bribery and infiltration within the Democratic Party.  The mainstream elements were then accused of trying to purge the dissidents.  Now, a self-proclaimed reformer under the alias of Brother Real has posted the internal electronic correspondence of the reformers on a blog.  It was revealed how the reformers were trying to bring down Lee Wing-tat, they were planning to sue Ming Pao in order to find the "black hand" which leaked the list of suspected infiltrators, and so on.  Some members are saying that Brother Real has ulterior motives, but the party leaders say that they will not pursue this for now.

Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat said that since it is impossible to verify the identity and objectives of Brother Real, the matter will be given to the secretary general without any immediate follow-up.  He said frankly: "It took me almost eight hours to read through this website ... This infiltration case is very sensitive.  We should wait for the five-person investigative group to do their work.  I will try not to comment over these two months."

But since the identity of Brother Real is so mysterious and his motives for publishing the reformers' emails are unknown, this has supposed caused more than a dozen representatives to meet last night.  They decided not to comment to the outside and they will wait to see how things develop.

This newspaper noticed a blog titled "Big Discovery" put up by a self-proclaimed Democratic Party reformer using the alias Brother Real on the popular

Brother Real claimed on the blog that he established the blog because it was "discovered that the Chinese authorities have inserted spies among the reformers in the party.  I was hoping that the reform wing can clean themselves up but I got nowhere.  Therefore, I was forced to disclose the matter on the Internet, so that party colleagues can understand and work to save the Democratic Party together."  Brother Real said that he chose to be anonymous due to fear of retaliation by the "spies."  The URL of the blog was send to the 30 central committee members and 253 party members.

Brother Real quoted at least 54 emails among seventeen reformers' representatives including party deputy chairman K.M. Chan, standing committee member Gary Fan and New Territories East Branch standing committee member Raymond Lee from mid-March to early May after the infiltration incident was disclosed.  Mainly, the information pertains to the analysis of the infiltration incident by the reformers, their plans to bring Lee down and to sue the media, and so on.

Our newspaper contacted members of the email group for verification, and they said that the 54 emails were private correspondence exchange among the 17 persons.

Our newspaper examined the contents of the blog carefully, and found out that the reformers suspected that party chairman Lee Wing-tat was the black hand behind the curtain who released the list of infiltrators.  Standing committee member Gary Fan even proposed suing the media which reported on the black list in order to force Lee Wing-tat to show his "true face" but the matter was eventually dropped.  Brother Real wrote in the blog that the reformers are possibly mistaken as the real black hand may not be Lee Wing-tat.

The blog also disclosed that the reformers were unhappy with Lee Wing-tat informing the media about the incident on his own initiative.  They planned to call for a disciplinary hearing to mess Lee up.  Some reformers pointed out that after the incident, former chairman Yeung Sum and Sin Chong-kai turned around and criticized Lee Wing-tat during a special central committee meeting and that was because "someone" was to become chairman and therefore "used the reformers to attack Lee Wing-tat.

When the accused "turncoat" Yeung Sum was interviewed, he said that he only wanted to clarify the matter during that meeting and therefore proposed that the infiltration matter should be give to the membership affairs committee for follow-up.  There was no issue of "helping one side while trampling on the other side."  He did not want to comment on the contents of the blog.  He said: "More speculations are only going to cause more troubles."

(Ming Pao)

Based upon what our reporter has found out from asking around, there are four different analyses about the identity of Brother Real within the Democratic Party:

1.  The reformers have these interpretations.  Some reformers tend to think that there is no 'infiltration' of them by the Chinese side and so they do not agree with Brother Real's assertion of spies amongst them.  But there are other reformers who look at this from a conspiracy theory in which the mainstream elements intercepted their emails and used the blog to attack them.  The seventeen members of the reformer wing were "shocked" that the contents of the reformers' email group were leaked.  Ever since the appearance of Brother Real, they have stopped using email to correspond and are using telephone calls instead.

2. The mainstream elements have these interpretations.  They think that this incident exposed the second-tier team have "character" problems, including demanding to be chairman and all sorts of little tricks.  But the blogger is anonymous and he has made no demands to the central committee so far, and therefore it is difficult to take any disciplinary action.  The best way of handling is to "wait and see" and hope that the party members will see certain people for what they are.

3. This analysis says that Brother Real is the so-called spy from the outside.  Through dissemination of the emails of the reformers to the members, the goal is to create alienation and conflict so that the two sections of the party will "open fire" at each other.

4. The final analysis is that Brother Real is exactly as he described in the blog.  He is just a reformer who wants to identify the infiltrators in the party.  His objective in establishing the blog is simply to collect opinions in order to "save the party."

(SCMP)  Democrats act on leaked e-mails.  Jimmy Cheung.  May 17, 2006.

The Democratic Party is taking urgent action after the discovery on the internet of confidential e-mail exchanges criticising party leaders.  The e-mails, accessible in a blog under the name "real brother", are believed to be private discussions taking aim at party chairman Lee Wing-tat and other senior leaders among the so-called reformist camp.  The exchanges, including challenges to Mr Lee's handling of alleged infiltration of the party by mainland authorities, and other personnel disputes, circulated among the party's members last week.

The party said it suspected infiltration by mainland authorities after two members were offered money by mainland figures. There has also been a mysterious increase in membership applications recently.  Mr Lee yesterday declined to comment.

Party secretary-general Cheung Ying-tung, who is heading a taskforce investigating the infiltration claim, said he would try to ascertain the validity of the e-mails' content first.  "Before we can establish the validity of the content, we don't want to speculate on the reason behind this," he said.  He said the taskforce was considering the framework of a report on the alleged infiltration after obtaining what he called "useful information" from members it had interviewed. He declined to elaborate.  However, Mr Cheung said the latest incident had dealt a further blow to the party's image.

Founded in 1994, the Democratic Party suffered factional disputes in 1999 and 2002 over its ideology and positioning, resulting in the departure of a group of "young turks" and some moderates.

(Apple Daily)  May 17, 2006.

[in translation]

There has been a development in the matter of the email leaks from the youth wing of the Democratic Party.  Upon information, Raymond Luck who was an employee in the secretariat and one of the email correspondents, had his employment contract terminated by the Democratic Party.  Some youth wing members believe that the mainstream is pursing youth wing supporters from inside the party.

Democratic Party secretary-general Cheung Ying-tung said that the contract was terminated for purely financial reasons and completely unrelated to the sectarian struggles within the Demcoratic Party.  Many Democratic Party core members said that this incident hurt the image of the party, and both the mainstream and the youth wing are big losers.  Yesterday, the Big Discovery blog continued to criticize the youth wing's attack on party chairman Lee Wing-tat during the previous information leak.

Many Democratic Party core members wondered if Brother Real is continuing to support the mainstream on the blog, but secretly smearing the entire Democratic Party.  "Revealing these internal email cannot really help the mainstream faction.  Instead, it lets the outside world get the impression that the Democratic Party is a mess internally.  This is trying to smear the entire party and bring it down."

As for the youth wing, some members said that one of the principals in the email affair is Raymond Luk, who used to be an assistant of Lee Wah-ming, had his employment contract terminated by the Demcratic Party.  Some youth wing members said that Luk is considered one of them, and the mainstream faction is using this opportunity to purge a voice that supports the youth wing from inside the party.  We have tried calling Luk but he did not reply.  A friend of Luk said that his departure is unrelated to the blog affair, but it is definitely related to the youth wing being investigated for being infiltrated by Beijing.  So the mainstream faction is using this opportunity to purge dissident voices from inside the party.  But this youth wing member siad that he has not intention of making any issue out of the email affair and Luk's departure.

Democratic Party membership policy group's CHeung Ying-tung said that it is difficult to see if the blog contents are true.  If Brother Real is a member, he should contact the group.  He explained that Luk's contract was terminated because there is a deficit of more than 2 million dollars in the Democratic Party's budget this year.  Certain contracted positions had to be elimianted, and this is unrelated to any factional squabble within the Democratic Party.