Former legislator Philip Wong dies, aged 82

Former pro-Beijing lawmaker Philip Wong has died at the age of 82.

It is understood that he was suffering from brain cancer, and had been in a coma in a hospital in the United States over the past two months.

Born in Fujian in 1938, Wong was a veteran lawmaker who served in the Legislative Council both before and after the handover, from 1991 to 2012.

He was best remembered for raising his middle finger at thousands of protesters who had gathered outside the council building to oppose the planned introduction of Article 23 national security legislation in July 2003.

He came under severe criticism from all sectors of society and later apologised for his conduct.

Apart from being an experienced lawmaker, Wong also served as a deputy to the National People’s Congress and had been awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star medal in 2003.

In a statement, Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed “deep sorrow” over Wong’s passing.

“Dr Wong had actively taken part in public and community service for a long period of time. In his various public service roles, he served as an effective communication link between the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong and the Government with distinguished performance,” she said.

“I am saddened by the passing of Dr Wong. On behalf of the HKSAR Government, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien, also said he’s saddened by the news.

“I always thought that he would go on for a long time, because he is very energetic and very healthy. Most importantly, he is one of the few people in this circle that I think never has any enemies. He makes friends with everyone, he’s very hospitable. I think he is very, very, well-liked,” Tien said.

Wong is survived by his wife and three children.