Guangzhou political adviser acquitted of vote-rigging
A Guangzhou political adviser was acquitted of vote-rigging in a Hong Kong election on Monday, after the magistrate ruled he had “a mistaken belief of a legal right”.
Businessman Fong Kei-wah was found not guilty of one count of corrupt conduct related to last November’s district council elections, when he registered to vote using his secretary’s address. Fong lives in Guangzhou, but is a Hong Kong permanent resident.
Eastern Court heard that Fong’s secretary, Peggy Li Yuk-yee, had worked for Fong for nearly 20 years and had filled in his voter registration form, giving her address in Shan Tsui Court, Chai Wan. Fong said he did not read the form before signing it.
Fong, 49, is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of Guangzhou.
He voted in the Lok Hong constituency of Eastern District, where League of Social Democrats candidate Tsang Kin-sing lost to independent Jenny Li Chun-chau.
Magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing said on Monday there was no evidence to suggest Fong intentionally provided a false address. Instead, Fong had been using Peggy Li’s address for his correspondence for a long time.
To said the court could not rule that Fong “committed the crime intentionally”, given his mainland education background and long-term reliance on his secretary to fill in forms.
The magistrate also believed Fong did not read the form carefully, and mistakenly thought anyone with a Hong Kong address was eligible to vote.
Fong had “a mistaken belief of a legal right,” the magistrate said.
The court earlier heard that Fong, the director of Hua Young Group Limited, had been using his secretary’s address as a “correspondence address” since opening an account at HSBC in 2003.
He no longer had an address of his own in Hong Kong by then, having sold his property in the Mid-Levels and moved to Guangzhou to take better care of his trading business.
Fong, a former director of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, told the court he came back to Hong Kong once or twice every month, and believed he had the right to vote because he was a permanent resident.
He also said no political party or candidate had told him to vote for a particular person.
The election last November was marred by vote-rigging scandals – involving people registering as voters with other people’s addresses. So far, 44 people have been found guilty of illegal practices during the election.