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Legislative Council elections 2016

Vote this way: Chinese state-owned firms reportedly hand out instructions to staff on how to vote in Hong Kong elections

Chairman of a Hong Kong-listed firm recommends that staff vote for an old friend

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 September, 2016, 7:52pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 8:35am

Chinese state-owned enterprises China Resources Land and Bank of China (Hong Kong) as well as Hong Kong-listed South China Holdings have reportedly handed instructions to their Hong Kong staff about how to vote in today’s Legislative Council elections in a bid to give the pro-establishment camp a helping hand, according to Reuters and documents ­obtained by the South China Morning Post.

A staff member at Bank of China (Hong Kong), which employs 15,000 people in Hong Kong, showed Reuters a list with names of pro-Beijing candidates handed out by the firm, and said employees were told to call their managers after voting.

A China Resources Land employee was also reportedly given a letter from the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association, which has more than 1,000 members in the city, asking staff to vote for patriotic candidates who “love China and love Hong Kong”. Some were shown specific candidate lists in meetings with their managers.

Neither company replied to email inquiries made by the Post.

In addition, Robert Ng Hung-sang, chairman of Hong Kong-listed South China Holdings, which has massive property investments on the mainland, appeared to have done an old friend a favour.

A memo issued from the chairman’s office and obtained by the Post showed he recommended those living on Hong Kong Island to vote for pro-establishment ­former lawmaker Chim Pui-chung.

It said Chim’s rich experience in the financial sector and Legislative Council could contribute to Hong Kong’s economy. But it stressed that this reminder was not compulsory and urged staff to exercise their right to vote for the candidates they wanted.

Ng is reportly a good friend of Chim.

At the same time, Electoral Affairs Commission chairman Barnabus Fung Wah hit back at earlier criticism about the commission’s handling of ballot papers, after a reporter from news agency FactWire witnessed around a dozen officers queuing for taxis with the documents, which were sealed in plastic bags.

Fung said the practice for polling staff to take ballot papers home before an election had been “all along effective”.

He said the possibilities of error were very low, as there would be mutual supervision among staff members and every step of the ballot papers’ movement would be recorded closely.

Fung said all the plastic bags were sealed with wax and people would definitely know if the seals were broken.