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Legislative Council

Hong Kong ‘king of votes’ seeks court go-ahead to amend his election expenses declaration

Eddie Chu wants to increase the amount of electoral donations he received in a bid to avoid legal repercussions including possible disqualification

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 March, 2017, 4:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 March, 2017, 10:19pm

“King of votes” lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has applied to the High Court, asking to correct ­errors in his election expenses declaration in an attempt to avoid any legal consequences.

A writ filed on Wednesday seeks a declaration that Chu be ­allowed to correct ­errors in his declaration form, submitted to the Registration and Electoral ­Office last year.

It also seeks a declaration that errors should not be regarded as “illegal conduct“ and he should be “relieved from any penalties and/or disqualifications” that might arise from the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance and any ­other electoral laws.

According to the writ, the ­errors centred on the part in which Chu declared his election donations and how he disposed of his campaign money.

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The Post found that in the amendments, Chu wanted to ­increase donations exceeding HK$1,000 from HK$433,728 to HK$576,083 and add four charitable institutions which received his donations from the original none.

Chu said yesterday the HK$142,355 increase came without receipts and therefore was ­required by law to be donated to charities, in this case the University of Hong Kong’s Legal Information Institute, Community Cultural Concern, the Tai O Sustainable Development Education Workshop and the Culture and Media Education Foundation.

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“Since the audit report came out rather late, we found out we had this money to donate at a very late stage and it could not be ­processed within the declaration period,” he said.

Chu said the money had been donated to the charities, but he needed the court’s permission to amend his declaration form.

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Under the law, a candidate who fails to declare his election expenses properly may face a jail term of three years and a fine of HK$200,000, if they are tried on ­indictment.

That person would also face disqualification.

In a perfectly normal world, there should not be a problem
Eddie Chu

But the ordinance also stipulates that a candidate can apply to a court, which can allow amendments if they are the result of ­employees’ mistakes or are made by accident and not in bad faith.

Chu was branded the “king of votes” in the Legislative Council election in September last year after he won 84,121 votes – more than any other candidate – to ­secure a seat in New Territories West constituency.

He and other lawmakers are facing a string of judicial reviews lodged by members of the public to disqualify them over their oath-taking.

But while two localist ­lawmakers have already been ­disqualified in a legal action lodged by the government and four other pan-democrat ­lawmakers are being targeted, Chu is not being pursued by the administration.

Asked if he was worried the amendments would cost him his seat, he said his lawyers told him: “In a perfectly normal world, there should not be a problem.”