Charles Mok loses final appeal over poll rival's victory
Former Legislative Council contestant Charles Mok yesterday lost his final bid to challenge his arch rival's victory in the 2008 election as the top court tossed out his case.
The election petition filed by Mok against incumbent lawmaker Samson Tam Wai-ho, of the information technology functional constituency, was rejected by the Court of Final Appeal in a written judgment handed down yesterday.
Mok lost the vote in 2008 by a margin of 35 votes to Tam, who had 2,017 votes.
Mok argued unsuccessfully that Tam - who spent HK$220,000 on running videos promoting himself on Cable Television shortly before the election period and before he announced his candidacy - had engaged in illegal conduct because he had exceeded the election expenses limit.
Mok filed appeal after appeal but never won. He was ordered to pay legal costs to Tam, who said he had spent HK$5 million on the prolonged case. 'This court case has dragged on for more than three years. I'm glad that it is finally over and any uncertainties cleared up,' Tam said.
According to the court document, Tam ran the promotional videos from May 30 to June 30, 2008. This was before the Electoral Affairs Commission on June 20 gazetted that the polls would take place in September and before he announced his intention to stand on July 13.
The court found that although the videos were intended to enhance Tam's image and profile, they were not run for the purpose of touting people to vote for him.
The top court held that the videos were not part of the election campaign as they were shown before the election period and before Tam announced his candidacy.
To ease fears that the judgment would open the floodgates to abuse by those of extravagant means, Mr Justice Henry Litton pointed out that there was no set form for declaring candidacy.
He also said that if a person had all but declared his candidacy, a court would have little difficulty in finding that he was caught out by the relevant ordinance.
The amount, in Hong Kong dollars, Samson Tam says he has spent on the long-running case•Charles Mok was ordered to pay his costs