Polling stations are due to open across Hong Kong on Sunday morning as the semi-autonomous city of 7.5 million votes for district councillors
The ongoing district elections in Hong Kong have been dangerous owing to the anti-government protests in the city.
Polling stations are due to open across Hong Kong on Sunday morning as the semi-autonomous city of 7.5 million votes for district councillors, in a ballot seen as a gauge of the popularity of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the pro-Beijing government.
First-time candidate Kwan Siu Lun says campaigning for this weekend's district elections in Hong Kong has been a dangerous business in the white heat of the city's political crisis.
In normal times, district elections are tame, hyper-local affairs dominated by candidates allied to the China-backed government with a remit over rubbish collections and planning decisions.
The protest movement needs a big turnout, it was 47 per cent the last time around in 2015, to give the unpopular government a bloody nose at the ballot box.
The signs point in their favour with 4.1 million Hong Kongers registering to vote, nearly 400,000 more than in 2015.
There are no disruptive actions planned so far for Sunday, while a "HOW TO CAST A VOTE" airdrop is urging young voters to turn up early, bring their ID and "avoid wearing black shirts and masks" or accidentally spoiling ballots.
In a city beset by violence, candidate Kwan says he has tried to tip-toe around the conflicting political opinions.
"I try to focus on local community issues," says the 38-year-old architect running as an independent on the pro-democracy side in his working-class constituency of Hung Hom.
"But of course some voters ask what my political views are... some people have sworn at me and thrown my leaflets to the ground."
The poll to choose 452 councillors across 18 districts is the closest voters in Hong Kong get to direct representation.
By contrast, members of the city's legislature are elected by a combination of the popular vote and industry groups stacked with Beijing loyalists, while the city's chief executive is chosen by a similarly pro-establishment committee.
This year it is "a kind of referendum" on the Hong Kong government's handling "of the riots over the extradition (bill), democracy and the conflicts between the people and the police", says political analyst Dixon Sing.