I've been reading Yotsuba and in this part, when talking about these two sisters, Yotsuba asks: “追いかけてくる方か？強い方か？きれいじゃない方か？”. I'm assuming this is a way to say "The (qualifier) one", but I'm not finding anything directly explaining this on the internet lol
Does this help: japanese.stackexchange.com/a/60591/9831– Chocolate ♦May 3 at 0:58
ほう's literal meaning is "direction", and it is used to turn things into options to choose from. For example, you can say to a child who doesn't want to get the vaccine shot:
When used to refer to a person, it gets confusing because 方(かた) is also used to refer to a person (without making them into options). For example, you can say あの方は誰 and that usage doesn't imply they are an option. To my knowledge, 方(かた) as a way to refer to a person has also evolved from the original meaning of "direction".
You cannot use ほう in the same way as かた, i.e. a generic way to refer to a person. It can only be used when you are turning people into options.
Importantly, if you say 方(かた) to refer to a person, it's polite. Whereas if you say ほう then it's almost disrespectful (if you are e.g. 先輩 in a sports club situation then it might be acceptable). This is also why I can confidently say in this instance it must read ほう because the context is not a polite context.
If it's 外国の方ですか、それとも日本の方ですか then I would read it as かた as the polite context implies it's used as かた