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Legislative Council by-election 2018

Mysterious callers target Cathay Pacific cabin crew, lobbying them to vote pro-establishment candidate in by-election

The flight attendants union received 10 complaints as of Sunday evening, and vowed to call the police if its members’ details were illegally obtained

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 March, 2018, 6:43pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 March, 2018, 9:55pm

The Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union on Sunday denounced calls its members received – from someone claiming to represent the union – asking them to vote for a pro-establishment candidate in the by-election, and vowed to call the police if its database had been hacked.

The union has some 7,200 members and union chairwoman Vera Wu Yee-mei said it received 10 complaints as of 6.30pm on Sunday.

Scuffles and protests as Hong Kong voters go to the polls for Legco by-election

“Our members said the person on the phone asked them to vote for a pro-establishment candidate in the Hong Kong Island constituency. And that person claimed to be representing the flight attendants union.

“This is shameless. We sternly condemn such conduct, which should not be allowed in a society as open and fair as Hong Kong,” she said.

Sunday’s Legislative Council by-election is to fill four seats left empty by pro-democratic lawmakers who were disqualified over an oath-taking saga.

Voting for the seats – in three geographical constituencies of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West and New Territories East and the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape sector functional constituency – began at 7.30am. Polling stations will close at 10.30pm.

The union has a clear stance, that it only supports candidates who will speak up for democracy and justice in Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants Union

Wu said the union had already contacted the company responsible for maintaining its members’ database.

“If the database is found to have been hacked, the union will definitely call the police and take legal action,” the union said in a statement published on its Facebook page on Sunday afternoon.

“The union has never called any of its members to appeal to or guide them to vote. The union has a clear stance, that it only supports candidates who will speak up for democracy and justice in Hong Kong,” the statement read, adding that members should learn about the platforms and performance of the competing candidates before voting.

Wu added that the union would consider reporting the incidents to the Electoral Affairs Commission. The head of the watchdog, Fung Wah, said if the union lodged a complaint, the commission would look into it by seeking descriptions and explanations from the relevant parties.

“If we find there are people making false statements, we will hand the case over to the police, because the right to investigate a criminal offence is with them,” Fung said.

New People’s Party’s Judy Chan Ka-pui, the only pro-establishment candidate contesting the Hong Kong Island seat, denied her campaign team was involved and condemned the callers.

“We hope the people affected can call the police and the police should take serious law-enforcement action,” Chan said in a statement.

Chan’s three rivals are southern district councillor Au Nok-hin, who is endorsed by the pro-democracy camp, and two independent candidates Ng Dick-hay and Edward Yum Liang-hsien.

By 8.30pm, more than 775,000 people in the three geographical constituencies in play had voted, with an overall turnout rate of 36.9 per cent, with about 61.3 per cent of voters in the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency casting their ballots.