Electoral chief hopeful on turnout

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2007, 12:00am

An increase in civic awareness over the years should ensure a healthy turnout in the district council elections on Sunday, the chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission said yesterday.

In the previous district elections in 2003, 44.1 per cent of registered electors cast their votes.

During a visit to a mock polling station in Kowloon Park, commission chairman Mr Justice Pang Kin-kee said he would not speculate on the turnout this time, saying it depended on conditions on the day.

'Over the past several years, Hong Kong electors have been much more aware of their civic duties and their right to make a choice over who represents them in the district councils. I can only assume the voter turnout will be at least as good if not better,' he said.

Mr Justice Pang said more than 1,000 complaints related to the district council elections had been received, some of which alleged intimidation of individuals. Most complaints alleged breach of regulations in election advertisements, or complained about noise generated from canvassing activities, but some were more serious, he said.

'We are aware of complaints about individuals being intimidated. We have referred such complaints to the police, and there were some made directly to the police,' he said.

Mr Justice Pang said complaints would be investigated and would be referred to the police or the Independent Commission Against Corruption if found to be justified.

Speaking about possible threatening behaviour against voters on polling day, Mr Justice Pang said there were already 'standard measures to prevent such things from happening'.

Since Saturday, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Li Kwok-ying, who is also a Tai Po councillor, has had police protection after receiving a threatening letter.

Mr Li said yesterday the sender demanded HK$200,000 to help canvass votes and threatened to harm him and his family if he did not accept. Police arrested a suspect on Tuesday evening, he said.