Democrats go to ICAC over media reports
The Democratic Party has filed a complaint against newspapers which described two of its Legislative Council election candidates as 'bankrupt of integrity' for failing to declare their stakes in a firm that owned the party's headquarters.
New Territories West candidate Lee Wing-tat lodged a complaint with the Independent Commission Against Corruption about 'false claims made by a couple of newspapers'. Publishing false statements about a candidate during an election period is a criminal offence.
The Oriental Daily was the first to accuse Lee and party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan of failing to include shares in Sound Factor Limited in their Legco declarations of interest. This was covered in other media.
Ho is running for one of five new 'super seats' elected by a city-wide ballot.
The pair said they were only nominee shareholders who would not benefit from their stake. The company was, in fact, owned by Nan Hai Corporation chairman Yu Pun-hoi, who had been helping the party by offering a building in Prince Edward worth almost HK$15 million for just HK$20,000 per month.
'[The media] could cast doubts on my integrity, but not jump to the conclusion that it is a bankruptcy,' Lee said.
The two quoted the Legco declaration-of-interest form, which said lawmakers were not obliged to declare shares from which they would not derive any benefit.
According to the companies registry, Ho owns one-quarter of the 800 shares in Sound Factor. Lee and the party's founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming each own 100 shares.
Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting dismissed concerns about Yu's role and suggestions that the democrats mistakenly believed they owned the building.
'Upon reading the balance sheets and profit-and-loss details of the party, members would have known that the office was never an asset of the party,' Lam said. 'As for Yu, he has been a staunch supporter of democracy who wishes to stay low-profile.'
As well as Ho, candidates for the seats include fellow Democrat James To Kun-sun, Pamela Peck Wan-kam, Lau Kong-wah, Frederick Fung Kin-kee, Starry Lee Wai-king and Chan Yuen-han. New Territories West candidates include Leong Che-hung, Alice Mak Mei-kuen, Josephine Chan Shu-ying, Albert Chan Wai-yip, Mak Ip-sing, Tsang Kin-shing, Kwok Ka-ki, Michael Tien Puk-sun, Ho Kwan-yiu, Chan Yut-wah, Leung Yiu-chung, Chan Han-pan, Chan Keung, Lee Cheuk-yan and Tam Yiu-chung.
Number of legislative and district councillors elected to represent the Democratic Party, according to its website