Former district councillor Edward Leung fined HK$15,000 for misdeeds
A former district councillor unseated for breaching campaign rules during the 2011 district council elections has been fined HK$15,000.
Imposing the penalty, a magistrate said he accepted there was no evidence of any fraud or bribery by Edward Leung Wai-kuen and voters were not misled.
Welcoming the fine rather than a possible jail term, Leung said outside Kowloon City Court that he would not run for any more elections.
Leung, 57, a candidate in the King's Park constituency of Yau Tsim Mong district, failed to file the written consent of 35 supporters before publishing their names in a campaign advertisement.
He also submitted his campaign booklet to electoral officers two days late.
Leung, who won by two votes, was unseated in favour of opponent Lam Kin-man after the High Court ruled last March he was "unduly elected".
Yesterday, Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen described Leung's case as an unfortunate event. "You had their oral consent, but not the written consent as required," he said.
Leung had pleaded guilty to one count of illegal conduct in an election and another of publishing election advertisements that did not meet certain requirements. Law fined Leung HK$10,000 for the first offence and HK$5,000 for the other.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption said it would study the judgment in detail before commenting on whether the penalty was too lenient.
Defence counsel Fu Chong-sang had argued Leung's offence was "a technical mistake" in which he and his helpers overlooked the collection of written consents and missed the submission deadline by a weekend.
Leung, a social worker and vice-chairman of pro-establishment group Kowloon West New Dynamic, said he was "grateful, not for the magistrate giving me a lighter sentence - fines only - but for giving me justice in his reasons for sentencing".
Also outside court the chairwoman of the group, lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, said smaller misdeeds should be handled by the Registration and Electoral Office, not the ICAC. "Even spelling mistakes go to the ICAC, that's a waste of resources."