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Occupy Central

Doubts over anti-Occupy petition

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 October, 2014, 4:48am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 October, 2014, 12:02pm

The credibility of a petition by a group opposing democracy protesters has come under question after some signed up using fake names and false identity card numbers.

The petition, started on Saturday by the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, seeks to "support our police", "free our roads" and "restore law and order", all with the goal of ending the one-month democracy sit-ins. But some people - including a Post reporter and many residents who posted on Facebook - said they were allowed to sign using fake names and fake ID numbers.

The Alliance said it had removed 675 fake names from the petition and that it would not be possible to ensure all the signatures were valid. "But if there are some fake [names] that we failed to spot, we would just have to say thank you to them for signing up," spokesman Robert Chow Yung said. As of Monday night, 801,500 people had signed the petition, the Alliance said.

People can sign the petition in two ways - electronically and in person at public booths. Forms ask signatories for their names and identity card numbers and whether they are under or over 18. Those at booth are asked to sign a form vouching for their identities.

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The petition is scheduled to run through Sunday. Volunteers encourage people to sign, asking passers-by if they support the police.

Manlee Wong, a 26-year-old translator and journalist, said she signed using the fake name "Civil Nomination" and a fake ID number. "I had not expected there would be a proper verification system in place," she said. She provided images of her smartphone screen showing that she signed the petition online using fake information.

Chow said while his system could not screen out fake names, he stressed there was a system to check whether ID numbers were valid.

The online system was hacked on Saturday night, and has worked on and off since then. The server was paralysed yesterday afternoon.

At one booth in Causeway Bay yesterday, a Post reporter managed to sign the petition using a fake name and false identity card number.

Chow responded: "We have already had briefings with the volunteers that they must check people's identity cards."