Chief Executive CY Leung in new bid to block poll challenge by Albert Ho

Chief executive files appeal as dispute over illegal structures with Albert Ho continues

Austin Chiu

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has tried again to block a challenge to his election victory in March, filing an appeal against a court ruling that partially favoured defeated candidate Albert Ho Chun-yan.

A High Court judge ruled two weeks ago that the Court of First Instance had the power to extend a seven-day deadline for election petitions.

Ho filed his petition several months after the election, when the illegal structures at Leung's Peak home were revealed.

Ho's petition argued that Leung had not been duly elected because he lied about illegal structures during his campaign.

Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon ruled that the court had the discretion to extend the seven-day deadline because it had a constitutional duty to oversee and safeguard a free election.

Yesterday, Ho's lawyer invited the court to relax the deadline because the illegal structures at Leung's home were not discovered until three months after the election.

It would have been "nonsense" to require Ho to lodge a petition within seven days, when the illegal structures had not yet been revealed.

"I cannot be blamed for not doing anything during the period of my ignorance, particularly when my ignorance was because someone was cheating me," said Martin Lee Chu-ming SC, for Ho.

He said Ho filed the petition as soon as possible after the illegal structures came to light.

But Johnny Mok SC, for Leung, said an extension should not be granted as Ho's case was "flimsy" and was not reasonably arguable.

Lam reserved his judgment.

At issue is whether Leung made a false statement when he attacked election rival Henry Tang Ying-yen over illegal structures at his Kowloon Tong home.

Ho claims that by criticising Tang, Leung implied he himself had made no unauthorised alterations to his house, but six suspect structures were found there.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Leung in new move to block poll challenge