Champion horse trainer Brian Kan sent back to jail for vote-buying
Horse trainer Brian Kan has original sentence for 2011 offence increased
Champion racehorse trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee had to be sent back to prison to serve a longer sentence for vote-buying because clean and fair elections were fundamental to the success of democracy, the Court of Appeal said yesterday.
Kan acted with "flagrant disregard" for the sanctity of the electoral system and the sentence would have to be harsh enough to act as a deterrent, the court said.
The trainer's prison sentence was increased to one year from the three months and two weeks he received from Fanling Court in 2011.
"Attempts to illegally interfere with any election process are very grave and serious matters. Clean and fair elections are fundamental to the success of democracy and successful electoral fraud has the effect of corrupting democracy," Mr Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen said.
Kan, 75, had served his original sentence and failed in two attempts to have his conviction overturned by the time prosecutors succeeded in their appeal for a longer sentence earlier this month, leading to Kan's immediate return to prison.
The five-time champion trainer, who saddled more than 830 winners, was found to have offered HK$130,000 to village representative Liu Fu-sau in 2011 in return for his vote in an election for the executive committee of the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee.
Kan, a powerful figure in the New Territories, lost the election to Bowie Hau Chi-keung.
"The fact that [Kan] simply left behind a very large sum of money in Mr Liu's store, having earlier told Mr Liu to support him, showed that [Kan] had no regard for the law and was contemptuous of the need for an untainted and fair election," Yeung wrote.
The judge highlighted that, since the rural committee consisted of just 46 village representatives who were entitled to vote, a single vote could have a very significant impact on the poll.
Yeung dismissed the claim by lawyers for Kan that he committed the crime only because he was "overly eager" to serve the community.