Four guilty of bribes-for-votes in IT Functional Constituency at 2016 LegCo Election

2021-9-15


Four persons, charged by the ICAC for their roles in a vote buying and rigging scheme in relation to the Information Technology Functional Constituency (ITFC) of the 2016 Legislative Council (LegCo) General Election, were today (September 15) convicted at the District Court of accepting bribes to vote for a particular candidate at the election.

Chan Wing-hang, Kwok Ka-kin, Lim Chak-him, all 24; and Ng Ka-ho, 23, were each found guilty of one count of engaging in corrupt conduct at an election by accepting an advantage, contrary to Section 11(1)(e) of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance (ECICO).

Judge Katherine Lo Kit-yee adjourned the case to tomorrow (September 16) for mitigation and granted the defendants cash bail.

Seven co-defendants had earlier pleaded guilty to multiple counts of conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to engage in corrupt conduct at an election by offering an advantage to others and engaging in corrupt conduct at an election by accepting an advantage. Six of them will also appear in court tomorrow for mitigation.

They are Li Wai-man, then corporate affairs director of Taxi Drivers & Operators Association (TDOA); Poon Sau-fong, then clerk of TDOA; Lui Ah-fook, then executive committee member of TDOA; Lui Wai-fong and Lui King-yin, respectively young sister and son of Lui Ah-fook; and Chan Ki-nam, brother-in-law of Lui Wai-fong.

Mitigation of co-defendant Yeung Yiu-hung, then vice secretary of TDOA, was adjourned to October 4 this year upon his application.

The court heard that the 2016 LegCo General Election was held on September 4, 2016. Two candidates competed in the ITFC—one of the 29 functional constituencies in the LegCo.

A person, who was registered as an elector in a Geographical Constituency or was eligible and had applied to be so registered, was eligible to register as an elector in the ITFC with the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) if the person possessed the membership of a professional body specified in the LegCo Ordinance, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., Hong Kong Section (IEEE).

In about April 2016, Yeung Yiu-hung explored ways for TDOA members to vote in a Functional Constituency upon Li’s invitation and found that he could register as an elector of the ITFC after registering as a member of the IEEE.

In the same month, Li sent a blank voter registration form to Poon via mobile phone message. With Li’s knowledge, Lui Ah-fook invited his three younger sisters via a mobile phone sibling chat group to join an “IT Club” for $1,000 each. Lui Ah-fook added that the trio were required to register as voters and vote as instructed in the ITFC of the 2016 LegCo General Election (the scheme). Lui Wai-fong also extended the invitation to her relatives, including Chan Ki-nam.

The court heard that in mid-April 2016, Lui King-yin mentioned the scheme in two mobile phone chat groups with his schoolmates and associates. The four convicted defendants were group members of either one of the chat groups. Lui King-yin also noted that he would deduct $150 from the $1,000 and asked group members to invite friends to participate in it.

After Lui Ah-fook, Lui Wai-fong and Lui King-yin gathered the personal particulars of 36 persons, including those of the four convicted defendants, Lui Ah-fook forwarded the consolidated information to Li on April 24, 2016.

In mid-April 2016, Li started to send personal particulars of a number of persons to Poon for IEEE membership registration. Between April 12 and May 1, 2016, about 127 persons, including Li, Yeung Yiu-hung, Poon, and the aforesaid 36 persons associated with the Luis, were registered as full members of the IEEE with false information about their professional qualification, education and/or experience.

Between April and May 2016, the IEEE membership fees of about US$32,000 (about HK$250,000) for several hundred persons were paid by Yeung Yiu-hung’s credit cards. The payments were subsequently settled by Li, mostly through cash deposited into Yeung Yiu-hung’s bank account at automatic teller machines.

Between April 30 and May 2, 2016, the REO received the voter registration forms of 124 persons, all carrying the same typo misspelling “Engineers” in the full name of IEEE as “Enginess”. Based on their IEEE memberships, 118 of them were included in the 2016 Final Register of Electors of the ITFC.

On May 21, 2016, Lui Wai-fong, Lui King-yin and Chan Ki-nam each collected $1,000 from Lui Ah-fook. On the following day, Lui King-yin paid $850 each to Chan Wing-hang, Kwok Ka-kin and Lim Chak-him during a dinner gathering. Ng Ka-ho also received $700 from Lui King-yin in the same month.

Before the polling day, Li sent a message to Yeung Yiu-hung, Lui Ah-fook and Lui Wai-fong via a mobile phone chat group called “IE Group”, urging them to vote for Yeung Chuen-sing, a candidate competing in the ITFC at the 2016 LegCo General Election. On the polling day, Lui Wai-fong and Lui King-yin made the same appeal to participants in several mobile phone chat groups.

The court heard that 19 out of the aforesaid 36 persons associated with the Luis had applied for ballot papers, including those for the ITFC, at their respective polling stations. Yeung Chuen-sing’s rival was elected in the ITFC at the 2016 LegCo General Election.

The REO had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

The prosecution was today represented by Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions David Chan, prosecuting counsel Newman Wong and Arthur Wong, and Public Prosecutor Dimitri Au-Yeung, assisted by ICAC officers Joseph Leung and Oscar Lau.
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