Beaten Hong Kong district council elections candidates to challenge results over claims of intimidation or voting irregularities

Alvin Lum

Three pro-democracy candidates who lost in the district council elections by close margins have challenged the results, claiming election officials were intimidated or there were irregularities in the polling process on Sunday.

Law Ting-fai and Lee Kan-ming, lost by two and 15 votes respectively to incumbent rural councillors Young Ka-on and Ronnie Tang Yung-yiu in Yuen Long, while Lucia Chiu Po-kam lost by 114 votes to pro-establishment candidate Leung Kar-ming in Tsing Yi.

The three have challenged the validity of more than 550 ballots.

Law claimed he and the returning officer were threatened during the vote count on Sunday night in Ping Shan North, although he did not report the incident to officials or police at the time.

“If I won, they said, ‘we will lock down the polling station’ and threatened to beat us up,” Law said.

Beaten candidates (front row, from left) Lee Kan-ming, Lucia Chiu, and Law Ting-fai, announce their intention to challenge the results of the district council elections. Photo: May Tse

Lee, meanwhile, alleged the presiding officer in Pat Heung North, had taken out 18 seemingly blank votes from an envelope, but Lee said one ballot was discovered to have his name on it, but this only happened after they were ruled invalid.

The Post has approached Young and Tang for comment.

Chiu has challenged the inclusion of 540 ballots in the Shing Hong constituency, which were found to have more than one tick on the ballot papers, or other marks. But Chiu said election officials ruled most of the ballots were valid and refused to do a recount.

“The problems we face may have existed for a long time, back when the margins were wide no one bothered to bring that up,” Chiu said.

“But this time the margin is very close, because if the 500 plus ballots are not counted, I would have won.”

Hong Kong elections give Beijing a headache with ‘kingmaker’ tycoons

A spokesman for the Registration and Electoral Office said candidates and electors could launch election petitions if they were not satisfied with the decisions made by presiding officers on questionable ballot papers.

The Electoral Affairs Commission will review various electoral arrangements and submit a report to the city’s leader in three months, he added.

Leung said Chiu was perfectly within her rights to challenge the result, but said the intention of most of the ballots involved was clear.

“Those ballots, even ticking outside the box, are all compliant with the election rules,” Leung said.

Meanwhile, the pro-establishment camp has also claimed to have been victims of election irregularities on Sunday.

Alice Mak Mei-kuen, the lawmaker for Federation and Trade Unions, said some election staff clapped and cheered for elected candidates.

“Why should we not regulate the behaviour of the electoral staff in the law?” she said.

A group of lawmakers from the city’s largest pro-Beijing party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, of which Leung is also a member, called on those who experienced irregularities in voting on Sunday to come out on Wednesday.

The party won 21 seats despite having fielded 181 candidates in the elections. The party’s chairwoman, Starry Lee Wai-king, said some candidates were not able to enter poll stations to monitor the vote count, because of safety concerns.

“As pro-establishment camp candidates, we could not promote our values normally like before,” Lee said, adding that some of the banners and posters were taken down.

The district council elections on Sunday, the first poll since the anti-extradition bill protests broke out in June, saw a record 2.94 million or 71.2 of registered voters go to the polls. The pro-democracy camp won in a landslide, taking control of 17 of 18 councils.

Additional reporting by Jeffie Lam

This article Beaten Hong Kong district council elections candidates to challenge results over claims of intimidation or voting irregularities first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2019.