|Intro||Pro-Beijing politician of Hong Kong.|
|A.K.A.||Junius Ho Kwan-yiu|
|From||Hong Kong, China|
|Birth||4 June 1962, British Hong Kong, British Empire|
Junius Kwan-yiu Ho JP (Chinese: 何君堯; born 4 June 1962) is a Hong Kong lawyer and politician. He is a former president of the Law Society of Hong Kong and chairman of the Tuen Mun Rural Committee, and served as an elected member of the Tuen Mun District Council from 2015 to 2019. He is a member of the Pro-Beijing camp.
Ho came from a family of village leaders. He grew up in the old site of Leung Tin Village (Chinese: 良田村) in Tuen Mun. He is a 32nd-generation descendant of his Hakka clan, which can be traced back to the 10th century.
Ho attended Queen’s College Hong Kong from 1975 to 1979, after which he went to the United Kingdom, where he enrolled at Chelmer Institute of Higher Education and obtained his bachelor of laws degree in 1984. Ho joined a post-graduate programme at the University of Hong Kong in 1984 and obtained his mandatory practising qualification, the postgraduate certificate in laws (PCLL) in 1986.
After gaining his qualifications he was admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong in 1988 and to be similarly admitted in Singapore and England and Wales in 1995 and 1997. He is the senior partner of a law firm in Hong Kong and a principal representative of a law firm in Guangzhou. His major practice field is civil litigation, specialising in shareholders’ disputes and family disputes. He was appointed a China-Appointed Attesting Officer in 2003.
He became the vice-president of the Law Society of Hong Kong in June 2005 and was elected president for a one-year term in May 2011, after which he has served as a council member.
In 2017, his legal qualifications in England and Wales, and Singapore was disputed, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) was contacted regarding this matter. It was reported that the individual by the name of “Junius Kwan-Yiu Ho” does not appear to be on the SRA’s records. This dispute however is later clarified, for a member by the name of “Kwan Yiu Ho” does appear to be on SRA’s records.
Honorary Award at Anglia Ruskin University
In 2011, Junius Ho was bestowed with an Honorary Doctor of Laws by Anglia Ruskin University, with the university describing him as an “outstanding ambassador”. After the 2019 Yuen Long attack, an online petition via Change.org was launched urging Anglia Ruskin University to reconsider the honorary award, and the university was notified after the petition reached 500 signatures on 25 July 2019. On 26 October, Lord Alton of Liverpool published a letter addressed to the vice-chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, requesting the university to consider removing Ho’s honorary doctorate, citing alleged examples of “misogyny”, “extremism” and “racism”.
On 28 October 2019, Anglia Ruskin University withdrew Ho’s honorary degree following an investigation, with a statement from the university noting, “Mr Ho’s conduct since he was honoured has caused increasing concern”.
Honorary Degree at China University of Political Science and Law
On 6 December 2019, Ho received an honorary law doctorate at the China University of Political Science and Law, with the degree being awarded to recognise his outstanding contribution and achievements in the legal sector.
Ho first contested a Legislative Council election in 2008, running against Civic Party’s Margaret Ng in the Legal functional constituency. He was defeated, receiving 1,286 votes, about 34 percent of the vote.
Ho was elected as Chairman of Tuen Mun Rural Committee in 2011, ousting the long-time chairman and most powerful rural leader Lau Wong-fat, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk. In that capacity, he became an ex officio member of the Tuen Mun District Council. He served as the rural committee chairman until 2015. He was a candidate in the Legislative Council election in New Territories West in September 2012, where he received 10,805 votes, about two per cent of total vote share and was not elected.
Ho was appointed to Lingnan University council by Chief Executive of Hong Kong Leung Chun-ying in October 2015. Students staged a protest against the appointment over fears of political interference in university governance.
In the 2015 District Council elections, Junius Ho defeated Albert Ho of the Democratic Party in the latter’s long-held Lok Tsui seat in a six-way contest by a narrow margin of 277 votes, as the pro-democracy votes were split between Albert Ho and Cheng Chung-tai of Civic Passion. Ho ran again in the 2016 Legislative Council election, in New Territories West, where he was reportedly backed by the Central People’s Government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong. During the election, Ho and his supporters were allegedly involved in the withdrawal of candidacy of Liberal Party candidate Ken Chow Wing-kan. Chow claimed he had been intimidated. Ho was elected with 35,657 votes, winning the last of nine seats in the constituency.
In May 2017, pro-democracy lawyer Kevin Yam published an article urging solicitors not to vote for Junius Ho in the election for the governing council of the Law Society of Hong Kong. Ho sued for defamation but failed to be re-elected, securing only 572 of 8,148 votes, coming last.
Tuen Mun Knife Attack
On 6 November 2019, in preparation for the 2019 Hong Kong local elections, Junius Ho ran a campaign event in Tuen Mun. He was approached by a man posing as a supporter, who attacked him with a 33-centimetre-long knife that left him bleeding in the chest. The attacker was shortly subdued. Ho was briefly hospitalized.
Ho has made several controversial statements regarding issues related to homosexuality. In late April 2017, following a lawsuit on government benefits for civil workers who are in a same-sex relationship, Ho said that legalisation of same-sex marriage in Hong Kong would lead to acceptance of bestiality and incest.
Fellow LegCo member Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, who is openly gay, condemned Ho’s comments, and said those who sincerely hold such thoughts should seek professional help. Holden Chow, also a member of LegCo, also criticised Ho’s remarks, stating that he did not need to be so extreme in his comments. Prominent lawyer, Kevin Yam, criticised Ho’s linking of bestiality with homosexuality as “a vile form of homophobia”, while Ho riposted that his remarks were taken out of context and that criticism was a personal attack on him because of his political views.
In May 2017, Ho said that a ruling granting marriage benefits to a gay civil servant could lead to “chaos in society” and co-signed a petition asking the government to appeal the decision.
In April 2018, Ho became the only legislator to vote against the appointments of foreign judges Brenda Hale and Beverley McLachlin to the Court of Final Appeal over their support of same-sex rights, claiming the two opposed traditional “family values”.
Tiananmen Square Protests Memorialization Motion
On June 2017, Junius Ho became the only pro-Beijing lawmaker to vote in favour of a motion to memorialize the 4 June 1989 massacre of Tiananmen Square protestors at the Legislative Council. He expressed sympathy for the Chinese students before the People’s Liberation Army crackdown.
However, Ho also criticized pro-democracy legislators for describing the government of mainland China as ‘cold-blooded’. Eddie Chu criticized Ho’s position as unclear and absurd, and compared him to Yuan Mu, a Chinese politician who in an interview with Tom Brokaw in 1989 claimed that there were no casualties during the crackdown in Tiananmen Square.
Opposition to Occupy Central with Love and Peace
Ho was a leading critic of legal scholar Benny Tai’s Occupy Central with Love and Peace which suggested a full-scale occupation protest in the form of civil disobedience to press the Beijing government to make concessions on electoral reform. He set up an anti-Occupy group called “Protect Central” which he said would resist the Occupy campaign.
In August 2017, Ho called for the removal of Tai, who was then facing charges of inciting others to incite public nuisance, from working at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Vice-Chancellor Peter Mathieson and council chairman Arthur Li rejected the call. Ho submitted a petition, appearing to have the support of over 80,000, urging the university to investigate Tai and organised a rally on 17 September calling for his removal. Ho acknowledged that the number of people digitally signing the petition was unverifiable. As to the legality of the rally, Ronny Tong Ka-wah pointed out that the Public Order Ordinance may have been violated.
Allegations of Inciting Murder of Independence Supporters
In September 2017, Ho organised a rally to demand the University of Hong Kong to fire Benny Tai. One of Ho’s guest speakers, rural leader Tsang Shu-wo, said onstage that supporters of Hong Kong independence separatist movement ought to be “killed” (殺). It is reported that Ho then shouted the phrase (無赦) which can mean “no amnesty” or “no mercy” into his microphone. After the rally, there were many allegations made against Ho, claiming that Ho was inciting the killing of Hong Kong independence supporters.
Twenty-two lawmakers from the pro-democracy camp issued a joint statement condemning Ho’s remarks, which read in part: “Ho, as a legislator and lawyer, expressed hate speech involving murder at a public event, crossing the bottom lines of free speech and morality and severely breaching professional conduct.” Chief executive Carrie Lam alluded to Ho’s comments when she stated on 19 September that “unacceptably cruel, insulting and intimidating comments” had no place in a civilised society. Executive Council member Regina Ip called Ho’s remarks “stupid”, and continued, “It will do our country no good to have stupid ‘patriots’, including possibly quite a few hired to become ‘patriots’.”
Ho accused the media for taking his words out of context, and he maintained that he was expressing his contempt at the pro-independence movement. When asked about the phrase in question on a Commercial Radio programme, Ho explained that “if we’re talking about Hong Kong independence, that means war. What’s wrong with killing enemies in a war?”. He continued that “if those who are pro-independence lead to the subversion of the fate of the country; with Hong Kong and the 1.3 billion people in the motherland having to pay a huge price, why shouldn’t these people be killed?” Ho concluded that “to kill them without mercy’ means we deplore wrongdoers like our enemies.”
Senior Counsel Ronny Tong said that Ho may have also violated 17(b) of the Public Order Ordinance, which criminalises disorder in public places. Later on 23 September 2017, the Commissioner of Police at the time, Stephen Lo Wai-Chung, said that Ho’s remarks would be investigated. On 20 April 2018, it was reported that there is insufficient proof to prosecute the lawmaker.
Candidate Harassment in 2016 LegCo Election
On 25 August 2016, during the 2016 Hong Kong Legislative Council elections, Ken Chow Wing-kan, a Liberal Party candidate that ran in New Territories West, the same constituency as Junius, announced the suspension of his campaign. He stated “I do not want the important people around me to get into even greater trouble, or pay a price”.
Chow revealed that he had received recordings that suggested threats against him from Ho’s party, who was competing in the same district for the Legislative Council seat. The media later obtained and broadcast two recordings. In the clips, a man’s voice states that “We will amass twenty to thirty people at the event to target Chow Wing-kan until he loses all focus in the election forum. After the pursuit, we will put back on Ho’s vest and support Ho on the scene.”
On the following day, Junius called a press conference and admitted the man heard in the audio clips was a member working for Junius’ election campaign, but emphasized that the ‘pursuit’ was not executed.
2018 Fanling Farmland Conflict of Interest
On 25 April 2018, HK01 reported that Ho’s family business holds the ownership of 120,000 square feet of farmland southwest of Fanling Golf Course. The occupant of the farmland claimed that the farmland is owned by Junius. Ho had voted against a motion to request the government to seize the golf course for housing redevelopment, but did not report his interests in the farmland. Ho responded that “it is not strange to forget to report”, and also claimed that as the motion did not impact his family business, reporting his interests was not required.
The report says that Junius Ho is the director of Po Tung Loan and Land Investment Limited. An offshore company, Profit Trade, owns 99.99% of this company, with its shareholders unknown. Profit Trade also holds ownership of Ho’s current residence – a mansion in The Vineyard, Yuen Long. Junius admitted to the ownership of Po Tung Loan and Land Investment, as well as ownership of the farmland. As to why he had never filed a disclosure of conflict of interest, he claimed it needed further review.
2018 Sham Shui Po Apartment Conflict of Interest
On 2 May 2018, HK01 reported a second case of Ho’s failure to disclose conflict of interest as an official elected member of the Legislative Council. The report claimed that Ho’s offshore company, Profit Trade, and a company co-owned by Ho and his wife Cecilia Chan, Lucky Leader Company Limited, jointly held the ownership to an old apartment unit in Sham Shui Po.
Henderson Land Development initially registered for Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment, of the apartment but later changed to purchase the unit for $19,620,000 HKD, which was up to four times the appraised price. Lucky Leader profited by 12 times the original purchase price. The two parties closed the deal on September 2016, after Ho assumed the role as a Legislative Council member. Democratic Party legislator Andrew Wan filed a complaint against Ho based on the Sham Shui Po and Fanling controversies, claiming that Ho had possibly violated the Legislative Council’s Rules of Procedure regarding conflict of interests.
Ho later admitted that Profit Trade had ownership of his family assets, but refused to declare his interest in the transaction, as well as his association with Profit Trade or Lucky Leader.
Yuen Long Attack
On 21 July 2019, against the backdrop of protests against the China extradition bill on Hong Kong Island, hundreds of men dressed in white t-shirts, who were allegedly members of triads, attacked railway passengers with sticks and other weapons at the MTR Yuen Long station. Prior to the 2019 Yuen Long attack, Ho was filmed reportedly supporting and congratulating a group of white-clad men, commenting that “all of you are my heroes” and giving a thumbs-up gesture. Ho claimed that he was simply greeting one of his supporters, and said it was “normal”. After the incident, Ho said that the white-clad men were only “defending their home and people”. On 22 July 2019 Ho’s constituency shopfront in Tsuen Fung Centre, Tsuen Wan, was turned into a Lennon Wall before being ransacked later in the day. The following day his Tuen Mun office also attracted protests.
On 23 July 2019, Ho appeared on an RTHK televised forum alongside fellow New Territories West constituency representative Eddie Chu. Ho said he did not regret shaking hands with the attackers. He called the victims of the Yuen Long attacks “rioters” and claimed they had instigated the violence. He said the mobs were merely “Yuen Long residents” seeking to “protect their homeland”. After Chu stated that protesters could not remain calm if the government continued to ignore their requests (e.g. to formally withdraw the extradition bill), Ho called Chu “scum” who “did not deserve to be a lawmaker” while storming offstage, ending the interview. Later, when Ho’s parents’ graves were vandalized, Ho blamed Chu and his supporters for the damage and warned Chu has the option of being on “a path of being alive, one is a path of not being alive.” Chu dismissed the ‘death threat’ and stated that Ho is “trying to mislead his supporters into believing that I am behind the damage to his parents’ tomb to incite further political hatred and violence.”
Over 2,300 teachers, alumni and students from Ho’s alma mater Queen’s College participated in a signature campaign condemning Ho’s alleged involvement in the attack. They urged LegCo members to impeach Ho, and requested Queen’s College Old Boys’ Association to suspend his membership. Similarly, Lingnan University students have started a petition calling for Ho to be removed from the institution’s governing council. An online petition requesting that the United States bar Ho from entering the U.S. or acquiring U.S. citizenship achieved over 100,000 signatures.
On 9 August 2019, Junius Ho made a post on social media comparing a photo of protesters and pro-democracy legislators to the Hong Kong crime film series Young and Dangerous. A female user commented that he should ‘turn himself in’ (自首), a reference to his alleged involvement in the Yuen Long attack. His response was that the commenter should go ‘masturbate’ (自慰). His comment provoked widespread criticism. Ho eventually deleted it but made no apology and said none would be given.
Attack on Democrat Legislator
During a 2019 Legislative Council meeting, Ho made a remark directed toward fellow Legislative Council member Claudia Mo, stating that she is used to “eating foreign sausage”. Mo, who is married to English journalist Philip Bowring, later told the council that the comment was “blatantly sexist, racist and it amounts to sexual harassment.” Ho refused to apologise and was expelled from the meeting.
2019 Municipal Elections
Owing to suspicions of Ho’s involvement in the notorious gang attack in Yuen Long and his inflammatory speech, his Lok Tsui constituency attracted significant media attention in the 2019 District Council elections. He lost his seat in ballot-box rout of pro-Beijing candidates. Lo Chun-yu of the Democratic Party, his opponent in the election, was alleged to have been threatened, tailed and assaulted by various means before the polling day.
- Advisory board member of Yan Oi Tong (1997 to present)
- Indigenous Inhabitant Representative of Leung Tin Tsuen
HONOURS AND AWARDS
- Justice of the Peace (1 July 2016)
- Honorary LLD from the China University of Political Science and Law (2019)
He owns two horses, Alex Flyer (天祿) and Hong Kong Bet (青山之寶) that race at The Hong Kong Jockey Club. The graves of Ho’s parents were vandalized during the 2019-20 Hong Kong protests, which is believed to be due to his alleged association with the Yuen Long attacks, though the identity of the perpetrators remain unknown.