© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. We report first results from the CHinese Exoplanet Searching Program from Antarctica (CHESPA) - a wide-field high-resolution photometric survey for transiting exoplanets carried out using telescopes of the AST3 (Antarctic Survey Telescopes times 3) project. There are now three telescopes (AST3-I, AST3-II, and CSTAR-II) operating at Dome A - the highest point on the Antarctic Plateau - in a fully automatic and remote mode to exploit the superb observing conditions of the site, and its long and uninterrupted polar nights. The search for transiting exoplanets is one of the key projects for AST3. During the austral winters of 2016 and 2017 we used the AST3-II telescope to survey a set of target fields near the southern ecliptic pole, falling within the continuous viewing zone of the TESS mission. The first data release of the 2016 data, including images, catalogs, and light curves of 26,578 bright stars (), was presented in Zhang et al. The best precision, as measured by the rms of the light curves at the optimum magnitude of the survey (), is around 2 mmag. We detect 222 objects with plausible transit signals from these data, 116 of which are plausible transiting exoplanet candidates according to their stellar properties as given by the TESS Input Catalog, Gaia DR2, and TESS-HERMES spectroscopy. With the first data release from TESS expected in late 2018, this candidate list will be timely for improving the rejection of potential false-positives.