ICAC launches all-embracing clean election drive for upcoming EC Subsector Elections

2021-8-27


The ICAC has launched a comprehensive education and publicity campaign to reach out to all stakeholders of the Election Committee (EC) Subsector Elections and appeal to them to abide by the law in the upcoming poll to ensure they are clean and fair.

The 2021 EC Subsector Elections will be held on September 19. At an online briefing organised yesterday (August 26) by the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), Franklin Chiu Yu-tat, ICAC Programme Coordinator (Clean Elections) apprised candidates and election agents on major provisions of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance (ECICO) as well as common concerns in past public elections.

“Under the enhanced electoral system, the number of eligible voters and designated bodies have greatly increased. New subsectors and functional constituencies are also created and they will participate in the election for the first time. To help new stakeholders to better understand the ECICO and avoid inadvertently breaches of the electoral law, the Community Relations Department (CRD) will explain to them the legal requirements, including things to note when organising election activities and publishing election advertisements, as well as requirements in relation to election expenses,” said Chiu.

The department has adopted an all-embracing strategy to disseminating the clean election messages through related umbrella organisations such as professional bodies, chambers of commerce and trade associations, as well as through its long-established district networks.

Since May this year, the CRD has successfully arranged over 130 election briefings for these organisations, including all Area Committees as well as District Fight Crime Committees and District Fire Safety Committees in the 18 districts across the territory. At these briefings, participants were briefed on the gist of the electoral law and were reminded the importance of upholding clean and fair elections.

In addition, candidates and their helpers are urged to refer to an information booklet produced by the Commission. Consisting a Questions and Answers section on issues commonly encountered in previous elections; a Gist of Past Election Cases; a Dos and Don’ts Checklist and channels for making reports and enquiries to the ICAC, the booklet was distributed to candidates, with the assistance of the Registration and Electoral Office (REO), when they submitted their nomination forms.

The ICAC has also launched a dedicated webpage for the EC Subsector Elections (https://www.icac.org.hk/en/ce/index.html) to introduce the Commission’s education and publicity initiatives with filmlets and reference materials. An enquiry hotline (2920 7878) has also been set up to answer public enquiries about the ECICO and the Commission’s education and publicity programmes for the upcoming elections, Chiu noted.

The Commission will send out a leaflet to all candidates after the election to remind them to submit their election returns to REO in accordance with the legal requirements, whether they are uncontested, elected or otherwise.

On the preventive front, the ICAC’s Corruption Prevention Department (CPD) has provided guiding principles for all organisations participating in the registration, nomination and voting of the EC Subsector Elections. CPD officers have also reached out to those organisations participating in public elections for the first time and remind them the relevant requirements under the ECICO as well as the corrupt and malpractice risks concerning the registration, nomination and election procedures. Tailored corruption prevention advice will be offered based on the actual operation of each organisation, with a view to setting up proper mechanism and procedures.

CPD officers will visit some of the polling stations on the voting day to observe the actual voting and counting procedures, so as to recommend graft preventive and enhancement measures for future elections.

The ICAC’s Operations Department stands ready to enforce the law where corrupt and illegal conduct in elections are unearthed, regardless of the background, social status and identity of the persons involved.

Under the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Ordinance 2021, two new offences have been included in the ECICO, namely wilfully obstructing and preventing another person from voting at an election as a corrupt conduct; and inciting voters not to vote, to cast blank or invalid votes by way of public activity during an election period as an illegal conduct. The ICAC will be on the lookout for any acts which may constitute manipulating or sabotaging the elections, and will take robust enforcement actions if necessary.

Should any person be found to have incited another person not to vote, cast a blank or invalid vote on social media platforms or websites during the elections, the ICAC, in the course of investigation, may proactively request those platforms or websites to remove any content which may constitute a breach of the electoral law.

For the upcoming EC Subsector Elections, investigators will also visit polling stations to handle complaints and enquiries relating to the ECICO on the spot, and take appropriate enforcement actions whenever necessary.

The ICAC will maintain close liaison and cooperation with other government bodies, such as the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, the Department of Justice, the EAC and REO as well as the Police Force.

Meanwhile, should members of the public come across suspected breaches of the ECICO, they are encouraged to report in person to the ICAC Report Centre or any of the seven regional offices, or call the 24-hour ICAC Report Centre hotline at 2526 6366.

Officers of the ICAC’s Community Relations Department have arranged over 130 briefings for different organisations to brief candidates and electors on the gist of the electoral law.
Officers of the ICAC’s Community Relations Department have arranged over 130 briefings for different organisations to brief candidates and electors on the gist of the electoral law.
Officers of the ICAC’s Community Relations Department have arranged over 130 briefings for different organisations to brief candidates and electors on the gist of the electoral law.
Officers of the ICAC’s Community Relations Department have arranged over 130 briefings for different organisations to brief candidates and electors on the gist of the electoral law.
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