Three arrested by ICAC for allegedly breaching ECICO by appealing to others to cast blank votes at LegCo Election
The ICAC took law enforcement actions today (November 9) and arrested two men and one woman, aged between 29 and 65, for allegedly breaching Section 27A of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance (ECICO) by “inciting another person not to vote, or to cast invalid vote, by activity in public during election period”.
The three arrestees have allegedly breached Section 27A of the ECICO during the election period of the 2021 Legislative Council (LegCo) General Election by reposting an online post which appealed to members of the public for casting blank votes at the election. During the operation, the ICAC has seized a number of mobile phones. All arrestees have been released on ICAC bail.
As the investigation is continuing, the ICAC does not rule out further law enforcement actions. In accordance with established procedures, the findings of an investigation will be forwarded to the Department of Justice upon completion of the investigation for legal advice on whether there is sufficient evidence to instigate a prosecution.
The LegCo Election was open for nominations from October 30. According to the ECICO, the period between that day and the polling day (December 19) is defined as the “election period” of the election. The ECICO stipulates that “activity in public” includes any form of communication to the public, and the distribution or dissemination of any matter to the public. The ECICO applies to all conduct concerning an election, whether the conduct is engaged in within Hong Kong or elsewhere.
The ICAC will take resolute enforcement actions to combat conduct manipulating and sabotaging the election. The ICAC wishes to remind members of the public that any person who commits an offence in breach of Section 27A of the ECICO is liable on conviction to a maximum penalty of a three-year imprisonment and a fine of $200,000. The Commission urges members of the public to abide by the law, and not to engage in making illegal appeals or repost any unlawful contents in order to uphold a fair and clean election.
Educational and reference materials relating to the LegCo Election produced by the ICAC are available from the Commission’s dedicated webpage at www.icac.org.hk/elections.