Briefings aim to cut corruption
THE ICAC is inviting every candidate in the district board polls to attend a briefing on how to prevent corruption during the elections.
It is the first time briefings on a one-to-one basis have been arranged for a district board election.
Fifty employees from the Independent Commission Against Corruption's Community Relations Department have been assigned to handle the project and the ICAC estimated they could handle up to 1,000 candidates.
Individual visits would help candidates understand the ''do's and don'ts'' in the election more comprehensively than group briefings, said the ICAC's Director of Community Relations Department, Eddie So Chuen-yee.
''Election malpractices caused by misconception or negligence of the law should be minimised,'' he said.
The corrupt practices the ICAC is concerned about include candidates or parties offering advantages to win votes.
The Corrupt and Illegal Practices Ordinance says candidates providing cheap tours or meals to kai fongs - people who live in their neighbourhood - would be counted as attempting to solicit support and would be deemed corrupt.
Exerting undue influence on people to stop them from standing in the election or encouraging them to withdraw their candidacy is also prohibited.
The polls - the first to be fully directly elected - would be much more fiercely contested than previous ones and the ICAC had found it necessary to strengthen the corruption prevention programmes, Mr So said.
''Through this large-scale exercise, we hope to make the election a fair and clean one,'' he said.
The briefings would include discussion of former legislator Gilbert Leung Kam-ho, found guilty of bribing two regional councillors in the 1991 Legco election and jailed for three years last June.
ICAC staff will also brief nominees on ordinances amended in the last Legco session.
An ICAC-compiled election diary containing information on the law will be handed to nominees during the visit.
Candidates welcomed the move.
Wong Sing-chi, a nominee in North District, said some were not familiar with the ordinances and ICAC staff could answer queries.