(Updates with comments from Ip in third paragraph)
Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Regina Ip, Hong Kong’s former security secretary, plans to run for the city’s top leadership position after front runner Henry Tang became embroiled in a scandal over an illegal basement.
Ip, the first woman to run the city’s security bureau, declared her candidacy for next month’s election at a press briefing this evening.
“As Mr. Tang continues to run for election despite his low popularity because of his integrity problem, I have decided to take part in the race as I want to offer another choice to Hong Kong people,” she said.
Ip left the Hong Kong government in 2003 after 500,000 people took to the streets in protest at her attempt to introduce an anti-subversion law in the former British colony. Tang, formerly Hong Kong’s No. 2 official, is facing calls to quit the contest after newspapers reported the illegal construction of a basement at a property owned by his wife.
Ip would also be competing against Leung Chun-ying, a former government adviser, and Albert Ho, a lawmaker with the Democratic Party. Tang shouldn’t lead the city, Ip said Feb. 17, a day after he apologized for the illegal property addition.
Hong Kong, which won’t have universal suffrage until 2017, will have its top official picked by a 1,200-strong election committee made up of the city’s richest men, professionals and representatives from China. All candidates need to get at least 150 nomination votes by the end of February to stand for election on March 25.
Ip was elected to the Legislative Council, Hong Kong’s lawmaking institution, in 2008. She later founded the New People’s Party.
--With assistance from Kelvin Wong in Hong Kong. Editors: Nerys Avery, Tan Hwee Ann
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