A man who disrupted a University of Hong Kong website running a mock universal suffrage election for the chief executive position was sentenced on Monday to perform 160 hours of community service.
Vincent Chan Cheuk-yin, 29, earlier pleaded guilty in Fanling Court to one count of attempted criminal damage.
Chan paralysed the university’s website last March 23 when the university’s public opinion programme was holding a simulated open election for the chief executive position, two days before the official closed-circle chief executive election by a 1,193-member committee, consisting mainly of pro-Beijing politicians and business people.
Chan’s denial-of-service attack involved him bombarding the website’s online polling system with over 20,000 hits, or information requests, between 12.30am and 3.30am on that day. In doing so, he overwhelmed the site’s capacity to handle the requests, rendering it unusable.
As a result, people wanting to cast a vote through the internet could not log on and organisers had to switch from electronic votes to using paper ballots.
Despite Chan’s attempt to disrupt the election, more than 220,000 people were able cast votes using paper after the attack.
Police later located Chan’s IP address and arrested him at his Sheung Shui home.
In mitigation, Chan had earlier told the court that his aim was for Hong Kong people to get more of a feeling of what it was like to be deprived of a vote to choose their leader.