Councillor may lose after court says he breached election rules

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 2:12pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 3:08pm

A district councillor could lose his seat which he won by just two votes in an election in 2011 after a court on Friday ruled he had breached election rules during his campaign.

The Court of First Instance ruled that Edward Leung Wai-kuen’s victory in the Yau Tsim Mong district council election two years ago was invalid and now a by-election should be held.

Leung was found to have failed to file written consent from 52 supporters to election officials before publishing their names in a campaign advertisement.

The issue was earlier brought to court by Leung’s rival, defeated candidate Lam Kin-man, of the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, in an election petition. Lam sought the court to overturn the 2011 poll results and said Leung broke campaign rules.

Leung, a social worker with no political affiliations, won the seat in the King’s Park constituency with 1,045 votes, beating Lam by two votes.

In his verdict on Friday, Judge Lam Man-hon was satisfied Leung’s act made the election unfair to other candidates. He said the names in his advertisement included well-known people that could have influenced voters.

Outside court, Lam Kin-man welcomed Friday’s ruling and said he would actively consider standing in the by-election if it was held.

“The main thing is that I lost by only two votes and the names he published without consent amounted to 52,” he said.

“I am very happy about the court decision. I have been waiting for it for a long time,” he said.

Leung said he was “extremely disappointed” and “surprised” by the ruling.

At a press conference, he said he had had the verbal consent of all his 52 supporters to use their names and it was only an “administrative negligence” to have failed to file the forms.

“In this case, nobody suffered any loss. No voter was misled. And none of the supporters was ever deceived or his name misused,” he said.

Leung said he was considering an appeal.