Occupy Central organisers have hit back at those who tried to damage the credibility of the unofficial plebiscite on electoral reform after a pro-Beijing group admitted casting fake ballots.
A Caring Hong Kong Power's convenor yesterday questioned the authenticity of the turnout as she claimed the group had voted online using fake Hong Kong identity card numbers.
"What evidence is there to prove that the identities of every [voter] is verified, and that they really are Hong Kong people?" asked Lee Ka-ka, as she waved placards urging people not to participate in the vote outside a Causeway Bay polling station.
She refused to say how many fraudulent votes had been cast by her group.
Occupy Central organiser Dr Chan Kin-man said the group would consider reporting the matter to police.
To vote online, people are required to fill in the number of a valid Hong Kong ID card and a mobile phone number, and declare that they are permanent residents aged 18 or above.
A test by a South China Morning Post reporter found the system failed to block votes cast by non-permanent residents and children aged under 18, but would reject random or invalid ID numbers.
University of Hong Kong chief pollster Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, who was commissioned by Occupy Central to handle the so-called referendum, said invalid voter IDs, including duplicates, would be filtered out when the votes were counted. But he said he could not stop people from dishonest voting.
"On the first day when the system was designed, we put our faith in people's honesty. For those people who acted dishonestly … they should be morally condemned," Chung said.
Chan said: "It is shameful for these people to carry out such practices and even admit the acts publicly. I would like to warn them that it is against the law to use another person's identity card number."
Information technology sector legislator Charles Mok said it was possible to work out valid ID card numbers using a mathematical formula. But he believed the impact on the results would be small because costly smartphone SIM cards would have to be paired up with the fake ID numbers.
"No system is perfect, but since the turnout is so big, the imperfection is insignificant."
Emily Tsang, Phila Siu, Jeffie Lam and Ernest Kao