Election loser tells court the victor 'cheated and lied'

A defeated district council candidate has taken her election loss to the Court of First Instance, claiming her opponent cheated and lied his way to victory.

Chung Ming lost November's election for the Hoi Bun constituency in Tsuen Wan to Chow Ping-tim by only 236 votes.

Ms Chung claimed that, in the days leading up to the vote, Mr Chow sent out 18,000 pamphlets containing factually inaccurate and misleading statements that helped him win.

Ms Chung's counsel, Erik Shum, told Mr Justice Andrew Chung On-tak that voters in Hoi Bun had been concerned that the building of a mortuary in their neighbourhood would worsen the environment and have a damaging effect on property values, he said.

The pamphlets said Mr Chow had no knowledge of the mortuary proposal, even though he actually did know about it as early as February 1999, Mr Shum said.

Mr Chow even voted in favour of it at a meeting of the Environmental and Hygiene Affairs Committee of the Provisional Regional Council, Mr Shum said.

In his pamphlets, Mr Chow claimed he had been an independent candidate for 13 years, with no party affiliation - when in fact he was a member of the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance, Mr Shum said.

Mr Chow's political affiliation 'must have been an important factor for the electors' consideration in the current political climate', he said.

'After the great march of the Hong Kong people on July 1, 2003, those pro-government and conservative political parties who supported Article 23 legislation were viewed by the majority of Hong Kong people as acting against the interests of Hong Kong.'

Mr Shum argued that in light of these factors, the election had been 'materially affected', and Mr Chow was not duly elected.

But Mr Chow, who has been a district councillor since 1991, has dismissed the assertions that he deliberately misled voters.

He told the court he had few recollections of any meetings in which the mortuary was discussed, and had confirmed that the mortuary would not have been discussed at the Provisional Regional Council.

He also denied he was a member of the HKPA, saying he had never signed application forms or attended any meetings.

Mr Justice Chung reserved his decision.