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In Hong Kong, Government Pressed to Probe Threats Against Councillor

By Katie Tam September 12, 2016

More than 70 groups gathered in Hong Kong Sunday to protest threats and intimidation levied against a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council.

Eddie Chu, who received the highest number of votes in the recent Legislative Council election, has moved out of his home. Chu says he and his family have received death threats.

Chu, one of Hong Kong's most famous conservationists, has been active in local land and heritage preservation movements. He also has been involved in a crusade against what he sees as unjust use of rural land, and has vowed to take on what he calls the "collusion" of government, business and mob interests.

Chu is not the first politician during Hong Kong's recent election to receive credible threats. Ken Chow, a candidate in the same constituency as Chu, suspended his campaign less than two weeks before the election. Chow later cited threats made to associates as reasons for his suspension.

"When a legislator elected with 84,121 votes can't go home, and is threatened to be killed because of his views, I think the rule of law has been torn to shreds. All Hong Kong citizens would fear for their own safety, and electors would be furious," said Chu before reporting the threats to the Hong Kong Police on Thursday.

More than 70 organizations and political parties gathered on Sunday outside police headquarters to support him.

Among them are some of Chu's fellow legislators-elect, including Nathan Law. Demonstrators shouted "No fear of the dark forces," "Down with political violence," and other slogans.

Chu said that threats against him and his family challenged the bottom line of the Hong Kong people, and that he would persist no matter what.

"Who dares to not let us speak? If we do not speak, and then will there be freedom of speech in Hong Kong?" said Chu.

Environmental groups in Hong Kong also have launched an online campaign, "Hong Kong people supporting Eddie Chu." So far, they have collected more than 8,000 signatures and have been joined by more than 70 groups.

In response to Sunday's rally, Hong Kong officials have promised to take Chu's case seriously. They said the government has launched a full investigation, and that the Hong Kong Police have taken measures to protect Chu and his family.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Mandarin Service.

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