Battle to take the wheel as drivers' group plots course

Doves are attempting to grab power in the Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association council election as they question the outgoing chairman Chow Kwok-keung for being unable to communicate with the government with his aggressive stance.
It comes as the hawkish Chow, who has been the association chairman for the past six years, steps down to take on an honorary role as the governing council changes next month.
A record-high number of candidates are running in the election set for June 18, with 31 candidates running for 15 council seats, before the newly-elected council members can choose their new chairman from among themselves.
It is understood that Aaron Ng Hoi-shan, the son of "taxi king" Ng Fong, will be leading the charge for the doves with his eye set on the association's chairmanship.
Alongside Ng are nearly a dozen dovish candidates vying for a seat in the council, including four former association chairmen, such as Brandon Tong Yeuk-fung and Eddie Wong Chung-keung.
A candidate, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I did not stand in the elections in 2018 and 2019, as the taxi industry remained stable. The industry is collapsing due to Chow's actions, prompting veterans to jump back into the ring and stand in the election to prevent the association from going too far."
Meanwhile, government sources said they have grievances with Chow, saying that his comments drew too much fire.
Chow, who also fielded around a dozen candidates in the upcoming election, refuted the claim, saying he is a "reformist with principles," and the association received better recognition after he took over the reins.
Chow said: "I am always open to a negotiation with the government, but the government gave people an impression of bureaucracy. They are inefficient and I am only hoping that the administration can let people see they have a commitment to improve the taxi trade."
He said that while some might criticize him and think he is trying to attract attention, he will stand firm in his decisions and remarks regardless of the election results.
"In the past decade, the government has leaned toward garnering public sentiment and put less focus on developing the overall economy. I hope the government will continue listening to the sector and develop the taxi trade together," Chow said.
He has been known for his aggressive and controversial remarks, which included "suggesting" people not to take a cab if they find HK$2 or HK$3 to be too much of a fare hike and impact their quality of life.
However, during his term, Chow twice successfully campaigned to get a taxi fare increase, with flagfall rising from HK$24 in 2018 - the first year he took office - to HK$30 this year.


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