Five charged with offering voters bribes
A former district councillor appeared in the District Court yesterday charged with conspiracy to bribe voters in a 2009 by-election by providing them with free meals, flu vaccinations, local tours and shopping bags.
Ringo Chiang Sai-cheong, 54, a member of Kowloon City District Council for 21 years, was charged with four others.
Lee York-fai, 42, a doctor and former Liberal Party member, was charged with exceeding election spending limits and conspiring to engage in corrupt conduct by providing registered voters with refreshments, entertainment and other bribes.
Simon Liang Chun-yip, 40, Yu Wai-chi, 36, and Cheung Shing-kai, 43, were charged with conspiring to engage in corrupt conduct by providing registered voters with refreshments, entertainment and other bribes. Each of the defendants denied all of the charges.
The prosecution said that Liang, Yu and Cheung had helped arrange banquets for and offer bribes to registered voters when Lee was contesting the by-election for Tai Wai constituency in March 2009. Senior government prosecutor Olivia Tsang Oi-kei told the court that all five defendants had arranged 12 banquets at the Mei Lam Seafood Restaurant in Tai Wai at a cost of more than HK$1 million.
The defendants are also alleged to have provided free flu vaccinations and vouchers of HK$100 per couple for medical services in Lee's private clinic 'as an inducement for voting for Lee in the by-election'.
Tsang said the statutory limit for election campaign expenses was HK$48,000. Lee had officially reported spending HK$34,119, but his actual expenses were HK$2 million, she said.
Lee polled 790 votes in the by-election, which was won by Leung Wing-hung with 2,820 votes.
The five defendants were charged by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in January last year after it received complaints of corruption.
The hearing continues today before judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong.