ICAC arrests three more for allegedly breaching ECICO by inciting others to cast blank votes at LegCo Election
The ICAC today (December 9) arrested three persons 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”. In another law enforcement action taken last month, the ICAC had arrested three other persons for allegedly committing the offence.
Two men and one woman, aged between 22 and 57, were arrested today. They have allegedly breached Section 27A of the ECICO during the election period of the 2021 Legislative Council General Election (LegCo Election) by reposting an online post which incited members of the public to cast blank votes at the LegCo 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 investigations 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. Any person who violates 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 ICAC urges members of the public to abide by the law, and not to engage in making illegal appeals or repost unlawful contents in order to uphold a fair and clean election. The Commission will continue to take resolute enforcement actions to combat conduct manipulating or undermining the election to ensure that it will be held in a fair and just manner.