District councillor may have to surrender seat

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 January, 2013, 4:19am

A district councillor who won his Yau Tsim Mong seat by just two votes could face disqualification after a court ruling yesterday

Edward Leung Wai-kuen had asked the Court of First Instance to exempt him from the threat of disqualification or other punishment after his election rival said he had broken campaign rules.

In an ongoing election petition challenging the voting result, defeated candidate Lam Kin-man, of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, said Leung had failed to file the necessary written consent from 52 supporters before publishing their names in a campaign advertisement.

Leung, a social worker with no political affiliation, applied to the Court of First Instance in June hoping it would rule his non-compliance was "inadvertent" and not subject to punishment.

But the judge ruled the omission was not "an act of negligence or carelessness". Leung and his assistant were aware of the legal requirements as they obtained six written consents using official forms, the judge said.

Leung told the court that he and his associates had obtained their verbal consent to publish their names in mid-October - just days before his election advertisement appeared. He said time was too tight to get written consents and he also blamed his inexperienced assistant.

On election day in early November 2011, Leung scored 1,045 votes in the King's Park constituency to Lam's 1,043.

Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon said "vague" evidence had not convinced him Leung had received prior verbal support from all of those named. But the crucial issue was whether he had their written consent, he said.