Chief Executive-elect John Lee on Sunday said he is in the beginning stages of forming his cabinet, but admitted that "complicated" international relations may put some people off from joining.
Lee told a Commercial Radio programme that he is compiling a list of possible candidates, but declined to say who he wants to be his deputy, even though he already has someone in mind.
The former chief secretary said he is looking for capable and experienced people who can complement each other, and that he will not place too much emphasis on their backgrounds.
He added that although the city has returned to stability, there are other factors that could discourage people from joining his team.
"International relations are complicated and Hong Kong is often a target in the Sino-American relationship. People considering joining the government may be concerned they too could become a target," he said.
When asked how he would ensure that press freedom will not be undermined by the authorities, Lee – who also served as security minister – said there are laws that regulate government actions and the court will adjudicate fairly if there are any violations.
"We already have press freedom, and it will not be at stake. We are only afraid of people who pretend to be journalists, like thieves who steal your wallet, and that's why we need to prevent them. The government will help prevent pickpockets," he said.
Meanwhile, Lee said he hopes to strengthen internal coordination when he takes office, but stopped short of announcing if he plans to create a new deputy chief secretary post to help with that, saying he should not reveal details before the Executive Council discusses the matter.
Lee also said he had signed a declaration that he is not a member of any political party nor will he become one after taking office, as part of a legal requirement.