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Hong Kong kung fu master intends to run for leadership

A Chinese national flag (L) and a Hong Kong flag fly in front of the Legislative Council, three days before the territory marks the 20th anniversary of its handover to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China June 28, 2017. REUTERS/ Bobby Yip

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HONG KONG, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Hong Kong film producer and kung fu master Sin Kwok Lam said on Wednesday he intended to take part in the city’s leadership race, a A surprise move that comes as outgoing chief executive Carrie Lam has yet to confirm whether she will seek a second term.

The 65-year-old is the first person to announce her candidacy ahead of the March 27 election. Lam, who presided over some of the most tumultuous periods in Hong Kong’s history, is due to end his term in June.

The willing candidates need the support of a powerful “patriots-only” electoral body formed by 1,500 pro-Beijing people in Hong Kong. It was unclear if Sin had such support.

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In a YouTube video, Sin said his followers on the internet convinced him to change his mind about not getting involved in politics.

“Under the new electoral system, I believe every capable and reliable patriot can join the election of the new chief executive,” Sin said. “I believe I have the ability to win.”

With the election just weeks away, the absence of any news on the candidates is unusual. Local media have speculated that potential candidates include leader Lam, finance secretary Paul Chan and former World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan.

Sin, who produced the film Ip Man, has been an active promoter of martial arts in the city. He leads the World Wing Chun Union, which focuses on the traditional southern Chinese style of kung fu that was popularized in Hong Kong by Ip Man and Bruce Lee.

Born in Hong Kong, Sin has his own YouTube channel with 155,000 subscribers and posts online every few days on topics ranging from politics to the Beijing Olympics. In 2021, one of his shows focused on what he called “Western hypocrisy” in Hong Kong.

He began his online commentary in October 2019 at the height of Hong Kong’s anti-government protests, where he firmly sided with the government and police forces.

The nomination period runs from Feb. 15 to March 2, and candidates must secure nominations from at least 188 of the 1,500 people on the election committee, according to a document from the city’s legislature.

(This story has been reclassified to correct spelling in title.)

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Reporting by Jessie Pang; Written by Farah Master; Editing by Marius Zaharia and Michael Perry

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