Pro-democracy politician Albert Ho Chun-yan has undergone surgery to treat early-stage lung cancer, according to his friends.
Sin Chung-kai, a fellow democrat and close aide of Ho, said the condition was spotted during a full body CT scan last month.
“Albert underwent surgery last Friday and is recovering,” said Sin, who visited Ho on Sunday. The cancer was caught in its early stages and “was not life threatening”, according to Sin.
Ho, 65, is the former leader of the Democratic party. He is now chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, and also leads the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.
Ho is believed to have had the surgery at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, and according to his friends, it was a success.
Fellow democrat, Martin Lee, who had visited Ho over the weekend and had last chatted with him over the phone on Wednesday, said he was told that the surgery was “very successful”.
Meanwhile, Sin reported that Ho ”looked fine and he said there was no sign the cancer had spread”.
Sin added that Ho was “lucky”, because it was only by chance that the veteran politician took the CT scan in the first place.
“[Ho] said he had no plan to do the CT scan for the full body. A friend of his booked the session but could not make it, so, Albert was asked to take it up instead,” said Sin.
Ho will likely take a month or two to recover before returning to work, according to Sin.
Alliance vice-chairman Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong said Ho had been discharged and was now taking rest at home.
He was optimistic Ho would fully recover and continue to lead the alliance.
“There is no plan for the alliance to get a new chairman and the alliance business is not affected” he said.
Sin said he was “shocked” to learn of the diagnosis last week because, he believed, “Albert’s health has been very OK.”
Lee Cheuk-yan, a fellow member of the alliance, said he was also “surpised” when Ho mentioned “some minor health problem” during the alliance’s rallies to mourn Liu Xiaobo.
“He said he would probably need to be absent from other activities for several weeks,” said Lee. “I was a bit surprised. He had been in good spirits during the rallies.”