PassionTimes Exclusive: Under Chinese surveillance, have John Tsangs high-profile campaign rallies rattled Communist China?

PassionTimes' Exclusive: Under Chinese surveillance, have John Tsang's high-profile campaign rallies rattled Communist China?


(Men A)

PassionTimes' exclusive: As Sunday's chief executive election looms closer, PassionTimes' reporters have uncovered a tight web of surveillance by the Chinese government over John Tsang Chun-Wah, one of the 3 candidates vying for Hong Kong government's highest seat. The former Financial Secretary took his campaign to the streets of Hong Kong on March 24, 2017, and ended the tour with an outdoor rally attended by tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens at Edinburgh Place. Throughout the day Tsang had been closely followed and monitored by a number of individuals who spoke with a Mainland Chinese accent and acted in a guarded and suspicious manner. Our reporters followed these individuals' moves and discovered that they ended the day by reporting back to the People's Liberation Army's headquarters in Hong Kong, a military facility that is off limits to the general public.

(Man B)

Before Tsang arrived at his outdoor rally in the evening of March 24, our reporters observed that a middle-aged man in a pink shirt (Man A) was already waiting for him at Edinburgh Place. He followed the crowd's movement upon Tsang's arrival and never took his eyes off the former Financial Secretary. After the rally ended, Man A met with another man in a plaid shirt (Man B) at Connaught Road at 7:30pm. Four minutes later, Man A and Man B walked towards City Hall, and met up with a woman (Woman C) and another man (Man D) there. They then proceeded to walk towards Admiralty, where the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison's (PLA) headquarters is located. They entered the Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building in Admiralty at 8:25pm. Being a military facility, the PLA Forces Hong Kong Building is not open to public, and is heavily guarded by armed soldiers.

In addition to the outdoor rally, Tsang's every move during his tour on March 24 was closely monitored by the same individuals. Our reporters first noticed them at 12pm at the Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau, one of Tsang's stops that day. Man A was seen standing on top of a planter on the street, approximately 5 metres away from Tsang, and watched him for 10 minutes. Man A was highly sensitive to his surroundings and often looked around. He then disappeared and reemerged across the street, getting closer to Tsang. Unlike other citizens who were busy taking pictures and videos on their cell phones, Man A kept Tsang under his surveillance, and looked guarded and nervous towards people around him. After Tsang left, Man A disappeared into the crowd.

The second time PassionTimes' reporters noticed these suspicious individuals was at Times Square in Causeway Bay. A crowd was already gathering at 2:30pm before Tsang's arrival. Fifteen minutes later, Man E, a mysterious man who previously attended one of the election forums with Tsang as an invited guest, arrived at Times Square. Man B and Tsang soon arrived at the same time. Throughout Tsang's stay at Times Square, Man B was busy taking pictures and videos, and texting others. Man B then met up with a group of 5 individuals at 3:50pm, among whom were Woman C and Man D. They left in smaller groups after 15 minutes, while keeping a close eye on the direction to which Tsang departed.

The third time our reporters met these individuals was at Central's Theatre Lane. Tsang arrived at 4:20pm. Man B, Woman C, and Man D were also there.

This is not the first time we saw John Tsang under such close surveillance. PassionTimes first found out that Tsang was being followed and monitored in the evening of March 7, when he was meeting with a group of young members from Hong Kong's Liberal Party in Central. At 7pm, our reporters saw a group of suspicious individuals waiting near the building where the meeting took place. Upon Tsang's departure, a middle-aged man from the group of suspicious individuals kept a close eye on where Tsang's car was going. 

Tsang was under similar surveillance by at least 3 individuals, possibly of Mainland Chinese descent, on March 18. Three men with a Mainland Chinese accent watched Tsang closely when he arrived at Tsuen Wan at 2pm. Later when Tsang appeared at Tsim Sha Tsui's Park Lane Shoppers' Boulevard at 3:30pm, 2 men, 1 in a grey jacket (Man F) and 1 in a black jacket (Man G), were watching him. When Tsang left, Man F quickly took off his grey jacket and changed into a dark green one as he followed Tsang. Another man speaking with a Mainland Chinese accent (Man H) was on the phone talking about "being with someone right now" as he followed Man F. Man G was right behind Man H. The 3 men, never spoke with one another, were constantly on the phone as they followed Tsang to Kowloon Park. Later they got together and waited 10 minutes before leaving.

Finally, March 22's election forum organized by the Chief Executive Election Committee's law subsector was when PassionTimes' reporters first met Man E, the same man seen at Times Square on March 24. The election forum, held at the University of Hong Kong, was only open to the press and members of the election committee. Man E attempted to gain entry to the forum but was stopped. He then waited outside claiming to be "waiting for someone". He left before the forum began.

Tsang has maintained a comfortable lead in the poll over former Chief Secretary Carrie Lam and retired High Court judge Woo Kwok-Hing. He is wildly supported by the pan-democrats. His campaign trail and outdoor rallies have attracted tens of thousands of attendees. It begs the question of why so many individuals, suspected to be People's Liberation Army's personnel, have put John Tsang under close surveillance. Were they there to protect Tsang's safety? If so, why did they act in such a sneaky manner? Or, is it a reflection that the Mainland Chinese government is rattled by Tsang's ability to gather large crowds during his rallies?

Please support our work: