Hong Kong’s incoming leader John Lee Ka-chiu has applied to the court for legal exemptions for failing to comply with election rules when he ran for the top job earlier this year. Lee, 64, ran three advertisements on his Facebook campaign page between April 13 and 18 in which three public figures, including an Olympic medallist and a Canto-pop singer, endorsed the sole candidate of the first chief executive poll since a Beijing-led electoral overhaul. But the former police officer turned top bureaucrat failed to publicise electronic copies of the trio’s written consent of support within one working day after the ads’ publication in accordance with authorities’ guidelines, making him liable for an offence under the Electoral Procedure (Chief Executive Election) Regulation. Hong Kong’s John Lee vows to uphold revamped electoral system Non-compliance with the requirement is punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment and a HK$5,000 (US$637) fine, but the court can spare candidates penalties if it is satisfied the failure to comply was due to “inadvertence, an accidental miscalculation or any reasonable cause and was not due to bad faith”, and that it “believes it to be just that the act be so excepted”. According to a High Court writ filed by Sit, Fung, Kwong & Shum Solicitors on Tuesday, Lee had obtained the support of 11 members of the Election Committee, as well as table tennis coach Li Ching, who won a silver medal as a player in the men’s doubles at the Athens Games in 2004, and artist Alex Fong Lik-sun. Not all 13 supporters featured in the subsequent Facebook ads, with only the names of Li, Fong and lawmaker Nelson Lam Chi-yuen appearing on Lee’s campaign platform. Lee uploaded the electronic copies of the 13 supporters’ consent to the official election platform on April 21. Lee has offered no explanation to the public about his non-compliance, but his campaign team said in April that they would handle matters relating to election advertisements more carefully in the future. Chinese president praises Hong Kong’s incoming leader, predicts ‘new chapter’ Lee won the May 8 poll uncontested by securing 1,416 of 1,428 valid votes from the 1,461-strong Election Committee dominated by pro-Beijing forces. He will succeed incumbent Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on July 1 when the administration celebrates the 25th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese rule. In a reply to the Post , a spokeswoman for the Chief Executive-elect’s Office said Lee’s application was a procedure provided under the electoral legislation. Under the regulation, the court could allow an exemption if it was satisfied that the non-compliance was based on any reasonable cause other than dishonesty, she added. “As the matter has been referred to the court, it is inappropriate to comment on it at this time,” she said.