Duo charged with providing entertainment at 2018 LegCo By-election
A candidate of the 2018 Legislative Council (LegCo) By-election for Hong Kong Island Geographical Constituency and a singer were charged by the ICAC today (August 2) with engaging in corrupt conduct at the election by providing others with entertainment to induce others to vote for the candidate.
The ICAC investigation arose from a complaint alleging breaches of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance (ECICO). Upon legal advice sought from the Department of Justice, charges were preferred against Au Nok-hin, 34, candidate of the 2018 LegCo By-election for Hong Kong Island Geographical Constituency, and Wong Yiu-ming, 59, singer.
Au and Wong jointly face one count of engaging in corrupt conduct to provide others with entertainment at an election, contrary to Section 12(1)(a) of the ECICO. They will appear in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (August 5) for plea.
The charge alleges that on March 3, 2018, Au and Wong engaged in corrupt conduct at the 2018 Legco By-election for Hong Kong Island Geographical Constituency by providing entertainment, namely a singing performance, for another person for the purpose of inducing the other person to vote for Au at the election.
The 2018 Legco By-election for Hong Kong Island Geographical Constituency was held on March 11, 2018. Au was one of the four candidates of the election and was elected.
Since late February 2018, Au had published various posts on his social media page announcing that he would hold a two-hour rally at Edinburgh Place, Central in the evening of March 3, 2018. A few hours before the rally was held, Au published another post on his social media page announcing that Wong would perform at the rally.
At the rally, Wong performed two songs on stage. At the end of the performance, he appealed to the participants of the rally to vote for Au at the election.
ICAC enquiries revealed that a video of the rally, including Wong’s performance and his appeal to the participants, was shared on Au’s social media page on March 4, 2018. Au reported the video and the post announcing Wong’s performance at the rally as his election advertisements.
The REO has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
Section 12 of the ECICO states that it is a corrupt conduct for any person to provide or meet all or part of the cost of providing food, drink or entertainment for another person for the purpose of inducing the other person or a third person to vote or not to vote for a particular candidate or particular candidates at an election.
An ICAC spokesperson stressed that providing others with refreshments and entertainment at an election is a corrupt conduct and a serious offence. Candidates, election agents/helpers and members of the public are reminded to refrain from offering food, drinks or entertainment during an election in exchange for votes.
For the upcoming public elections to be held in the next few months, the ICAC has commenced a series of multi-faceted education and publicity programmes to promote a clean election culture and help all stakeholders to understand the provisions of the ECICO.
The programmes disseminate clean election messages and explain key requirements of the ECICO through election briefings and forums, materials for candidates, election agents/helpers and electors; talks and activities for different groups of electors; as well as other publicity platforms such as media and social media. The ICAC also runs an election hotline 2920 7878 for public enquiries concerning the ECICO and related issues.