A man has become the first person behind bars in Hong Kong to vote in an election, casting a ballot in a district by-election. Under an escort yesterday by the Correctional Services staff, the man cast his vote - the only one from detainees - in the by-election of the Tai Wai constituency of the Sha Tin District Council. The unprecedented arrangement cost taxpayers about HK$50,000 - roughly a tenth of the total cost of the by-election. The move was prompted by a court ruling last year that the long-standing voting ban on prisoners was unconstitutional. Special arrangements were made for voters behind bars, with those under the Correctional Services Department's custody allowed to vote at the polling centre at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, which, for security reasons, opened from 9am to 4pm. And those detained by other law enforcement agencies were allowed to vote at the Tin Sum Police Station, which, like the two other polling stations for general voters, opened from 7.30am to 10.30pm. The High Court ruled last December the long-standing voting ban was unconstitutional. The court did not say Hong Kong was barred from placing restrictions on prisoner voting but said lawmakers should hammer out limits that withstood scrutiny. The court decision came after two inmates at Stanley Prison challenged the voting laws, saying the ban deprived them of their basic civil right guaranteed to all Hong Kong permanent residents under the Basic Law. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung said of the arrangements: 'This is the first step we are taking to implement the court decision.' Mr Lam added that the government was consolidating the views collected from a six-week public consultation on prisoners' right to vote and planned to put forward a package of proposals to the Legislative Council next month. 'It is also our aim to complete the legislative exercise by July this year so that we would be in a position to implement the court decision as soon as possible,' Mr Lam said. At the close of polling at 10.30pm, 5,963 of the 12,164 electors had voted - a turnout of 49 per cent. The seat was won by the Democratic Party's Leung Wing-hung, with 2,820 votes. The election was sparked by a court ruling in December which stripped Yuen Kwai-choi of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong of his seat. The court ruled his victory was not valid because he had falsely accused his rival, Mr Leung, during the campaign in 2007. Mr Yuen, who stood yesterday, got 2,301 votes. The other candidates in yesterday's election were Chan Wai-man, Chau Chi-pong and Lee York-fai.