Meet John Lee Ka-chiu, Hong Kong’s new chief executive known for strong love of nation and SAR
Published: May 08, 2022 08:17 PM Updated: May 08, 2022 07:57 PM
John Lee Ka-chiu. Photo: CFP
John Lee Ka-chiu. Photo: CFP

John Lee Ka-chiu was elected as the new chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Sunday. Not long ago during his campaign, he vowed to open a new chapter for Hong Kong together with Hong Kong residents. 

Sense of justice

Lee was once robbed when he went mountain climbing with his schoolmates. The incident made him realize how important it is to have good public safety and citizens that abide by laws. 

He became a Probationary Inspector of Police In 1977 after graduating from high school, and has worked in the Hong Kong Police Force for more than 30 years.

Lee was appointed Under Secretary for Security in 2012 and promoted to Secretary for Security in 2017. 

In June 2021, Lee was appointed as Chief Secretary for Administration. He resigned on April 6, 2022 and joined the chief executive election. 

Throughout his career, Lee has been handling criminal cases decisively and tactically and had cracked a famous case involving drinks spiking. From 1994-95, a gang who injected drugs into paper-packaged drinks to steal and loot victims committed more than 20 crimes in half a year. The gang leader was later sentenced to 14 years. 

In 1998, Lee led operations against Zhang Ziqiang, who had multiple looting, kidnapping and murder charges. Lee then was the head of Organized Crime and Triad Bureau. His role was to ensure the safety of all police officers and residents despite the presence of criminals as dangerous as Zhang. 

Lee arranged 24/7 secret monitoring of Zhang's gang who stored 800 kilograms of explosives and more than 2,000 detonators at a village in New Territories. The close cooperation between Hong Kong and mainland police forces paved the way to solving the case.

On January 17, 1998, the explosives were seized by police and on July 22, Zhang and 17 other suspects were arrested. A week later, another 13 suspects involved were arrested. Lee safeguarded the law and order, and prevented the harm to public safety. 

Warmhearted person

As a student, Lee was good at mathematics and history. His love for the country and for Hong Kong developed at a young age. Some classmates recalled that Lee grew resentful after learning at history classes that the motherland was bullied by foreign countries in history, and looked forward to making contributions to the nation. 

Alumnus from Five Districts Business Welfare Association School, the elementary school Lee attended, as well as his teachers and the principal, told the Global People that he is cordial even after so many years. 

In 2018, school principal Wong Kam-yiu planned to invite Lee as a main guest to the school's 60th anniversary but worried he might be too busy to come. However, Lee "agreed without hesitation." 

Lee expressed his "nervousness" as an alumni and happiness to see the graduates' development in the address and participated in the celebration activities "in full vigor." 

Loving nation, loving Hong Kong 

Current Secretary of Security Chris Tang Ping-keung has worked with Lee for many years and he said Lee "loves the country and Hong Kong, and has commitment to do practical work with great leadership and broad vision." 

YouTube shut Lee's election campaign channel citing a sanction on Lee imposed in August 2020 by the US. Lee responded to the ban, saying, "the so-called sanctions are bullying. Their unjustified deeds only strengthened my belief that what I am doing is right, so I scoffed at it (the shut of channel)."

Loyalty is the basic requirement for a chief executive who must be patriotic, Lee said after announcing he would participate in the election. 

Lee's love for the country and Hong Kong was felt by Jody Kwok Fu-yung from Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. 

In 2019 during the anti-extradition bill unrest, Kwok and her fellows were a bit confused about their future and worried about their own safety. "Lee was like a kind senior who listened to our concerns, understood our pressure, and promised that the government will take actions." 

"His words assured us," Kwok said.

Lee firmly supported police force's law enforcement during anti-government riots in 2019. He gave speeches and wrote articles to push the implementation of the national security law for HKSAR after it was released. 

Lee said during that time he wasn't having enough rest, but he thought, "I can sleep less for a law which will influence all Hong Kong residents and our children for many years to follow." 

Lee, a member of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of HKSAR established in line with the new law, worked with then Commissioner of Police Tang, cracked down on secessionists and the "black hands" behind the unrest, investigated the secessionist forces, and changed the social atmosphere of Hong Kong. 

Celebrating the 24th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, Lee said the July 1 of 2021 was also the centennial of the Communist Party of China. "We should have a deeper understanding of the 'one country, two systems' raised and practiced under CPC leadership." 

Kwok, a Kwai Tsing District Councilor, received Lee's policy plan in April, which was "practical, not empty promises. It could be related to his grassroots background."

There are some saying Lee has experience only in the security fields and lacks experiences in business. But Lee believes the role of the chief executive is to establish a team to work for Hong Kong rather than the CE handling everything alone. He plans to invite competent individuals into the administration. 

Lee's lack of relations with people of some sectors could also be conducive to justice. "I have no burden ... Collective interests is my top priority, not the interests of a certain sector," Lee said. 

Lee, at a briefing on his campaign principles on April 29, said if he is elected, he would bring about a government that "can make a difference." 

Global Times