Four residents of a Sham Shui Po public housing estate were charged with corruption on Thursday after being accused of a “lucky bag” bribery scheme involving a pro-Beijing candidate in last year’s Legislative Council by-elections.
Deng Yimei, 42, and Wong Wai-ha, 52, faced one count of conspiracy to offer an advantage to others at an election for allegedly offering the “lucky bags” to co-defendants, Chan Wai-kuen and Li Mau, both 50. In return for the bags, the defendants were meant to vote for Vincent Cheng Wing-shun, of the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption said Deng and Wong were housewives and volunteers at Friends of Hoi Lai Society, a residents’ group in Hoi Lai Estate, where the two other defendants are also residents.
Between February 28 and March 11 last year, the pair allegedly offered “lucky bags” to their neighbours, Chan and Li, to have them vote for Cheng. The bags contained food and household items valued at around HK$100 (US$12.75).
Chan and Li, who had allegedly agreed to vote for Cheng, were charged with one count each of accepting an advantage at an election.
At West Kowloon Court, while prosecutors said they were ready to take pleas, three of the four defendants asked for an adjournment to seek legal advice and review surveillance camera footage.
Magistrate Jason Wan Siu-ming adjourned the case to December 5 and granted each of them a HK$2,000 (US$255) cash bail. He barred them from contacting any of the prosecution witnesses.
In the by-election for the Kowloon West constituency on March 11, 2018, Cheng defeated pan-democrat Edward Yiu Chung-yim and non-affiliated Jonathan Tsoi Tung-chau by winning 107,479 votes.
Corruption watchdog charges residents’ group volunteers for ‘lucky bags’ vote buying at 2018 by-elections
The vacancy was caused by the ousting of localist lawmaker Yau Wai-ching, one of the six pan-democratic or localist lawmakers disqualified for improper oath-taking in 2016.
The prosecution revealed they had 21 witnesses, including a district councillor, three officers from the Registration and Electoral Office and nine from the city’s corruption watchdog.
Under the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance, an offender is liable to a maximum fine of HK$500,000 (US$64,000) and imprisonment of up to seven years.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Hong Kong corruption watchdog charges residents’ group volunteers for ‘lucky bags’ vote buying at 2018 by-elections
- Hong Kong’s largest pro-Beijing party admits facing uphill fight at coming district council elections as anti-government protests rage
- Seven members and staff of Hong Kong taxi association among 17 charged over vote-rigging during 2016 Legislative Council elections
This article Four Sham Shui Po residents charged in ‘lucky bag’ vote-buying scheme involving pro-Beijing lawmaker in last year’s Legislative Council by-elections first appeared on South China Morning Post