‘Long Hair’ HK personality of the year

Agence France Presse

Hong Kong, January 4:

A maverick, pro-democracy legislator who has led dozens of protests against the Chinese government has been voted Hong Kong’s personality of 2004 in an end-of-year popularity poll, organisers said Tuesday.Leung Kwok-hung romped home by a wide margin in the hugely anticipated end-of-year popularity poll held by RTHK public radio just four months after his surprise victory in legislative elections. Known as “Long Hair” for his shoulder-length tresses, the avowed Marxist caused a storm when he reworded his legislative inauguration oath of office to include a pledge to fight for full democracy in the southern Chinese enclave.

As a lawmaker he has been a vocal backer of issues that have caused enormous embarrassment to the Beijing-backed government. But he is best known as a political activist, leading often raucous demonstrations in support of more democracy in a city where leaders are hand-picked by Beijing. A thorn in the side of both the local and Chinese governments, Leung is banned from entering China and is currently on bail after being arrested last week in scuffles during a street protest.

In joint second place in the poll were social activist Christine Loh, who leads a campaign to halt reclamation on Hong Kong’s famous harbour, and elderly welfare recipient Lo Siu-lai whose David and Goliath battle against the government crashed the Link property trust, the world’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT).