Hong Kong’s outgoing district councillor launches legal bid to invalidate election result after losing seat to pro-democracy contender

Brian Wong

A pro-Beijing district councillor in Hong Kong, who lost his seat to his political rival in the district council elections last month, has launched a legal bid to invalidate the election in his constituency.

Cheng Keung-fung, the incumbent at Kwun Tong District Tsui Ping constituency with 12,390 registered voters, is the first losing candidate in the elections held on November 24 to take his opponent to court over the results.

A filing in the High Court said pro-democracy contender Hung Chun-hin, the only other candidate in the race, had made false representations about Cheng’s political affiliation and his own contribution to the community in some 13,000 leaflets he distributed among voters during the campaign.

The filing asked the city judges to overrule Hung’s winning bid, saying he had violated Section 26(1) of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance by prejudicing his competitor’s election.

The district council elections saw a record turnout of 2.94 million or 71.2 per cent of registered voters casting their ballots. Photo: Felix Wong

Hung told the Post he did not worry about losing his seat over Cheng’s petition.

The district council elections, the first poll since the extradition bill protests broke out in June, ended with a record turnout of 2.94 million or 71.2 per cent of registered voters casting their ballots. The pro-democracy camp won a majority of seats and took control of 17 out of the city’s 18 district councils.

Soon after the elections, three pro-democracy candidates who lost by close margins vowed to challenge the results, claiming election officials were intimidated or there were irregularities in the polling process.

Beaten Hong Kong district council elections candidates to challenge results

But it was Cheng who first took his case to court, after his 3,822 votes lost to Hung’s 4,203.

In the court filing, Cheng said he had been vilified by Hung, who falsely accused him of concealing his political affiliation and pretending to be an independent candidate.

Cheng said in one version of the leaflets, Hung had made a clear allegation by publishing statements, such as “beware of fake independence, pro-government party which acts against the public’s wishes”, and juxtaposed them with Cheng’s picture.

But Cheng argued he had always expressly disclosed his connection with the pro-establishment camp, including his affiliation with the Federation of Public Housing Estate, where pro-Beijing lawmakers Starry Lee Wai-king, Priscilla Leung Mei-fun and Wong Kwok-kin were members.

“[Hung] mounted a serious attack on [Cheng’s] integrity and confused the voters on [Cheng’s] true political affiliation,” the court filing reads.

What were voters in Hong Kong district council elections saying

Cheng said in another version of the leaflets, Hung had claimed credits in two community projects without any substantial participation.

He said the projects were spearheaded by Hung’s party comrade Cheng King-yeung, another Kwun Tong district councillor from Po Lok constituency, while Hung was an undergraduate student at Chinese University. Hung’s name, however, had never appeared in any of the district councillors’ work reports in acknowledgement of his efforts.

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