Police raid on polling institute, pushing opposition's primary voting back by three hours

Local | 11 Jul 2020 11:51 am

The weekend primary for Hong Kong's pro-democracy to select candidates for the upcoming Legislative Council elections has been delayed by three hours, as police raided an office of poll organizers last night.

A spokesperson from the force said officers from the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau searched an office in Wong Chuk Hang yesterday afternoon, as they received reports about suspected data leak of citizens, including those of police officers. They suspected the organizations' computers may have been hacked.

Organizers pushed back voting till noon, citing the police operation which went overnight had led to delays in preparatory work.

Candidates and organizers have vowed to press on the primary despite vague warnings from a top official that it might breach the new national security law, and city authorities challenging the selection of venues for polling stations.

Hong Kong's opposition parties decided to hold a primary system to field down candidates with the best chance of winning in the Legco election on September 6, in the wake of a landslide victory in the district council elections last November.

The primary will be held from Saturday to Sunday, with 250 poll stations across the city's five geographical constituencies from 12pm to 9pm today and 9am to 9pm tomorrow. Any registered voter is eligible to cast a ballot after showing proof of address and an identity card.

Robert Chung Ting-yiu, president of the Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) said officers had entered its office yesterday on speculations of a data leak from a survey commissioned by the force back in 2013, but did not take away any of the computers.

No one has been arrested so far.

Chung stressed its institute was operating normally and the system would be running fine for the two-day primary, because the relevant computers were not at the site in question.

The poll is legitimate,” Chung said. “we will face the police raid with a calm demeanor.”

He added his institute's IT staff had not found signs of hacking, and the data still in the system linked to the concerned survey was not able to identity interviewees, as information that could have done so had been deleted.

A netizen had accused PORI of lying about destroying respondents' data six months after surveys are completed earlier this week.

Previously, netizen “Tony Mike” revealed that the institute has kept data collected by the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme (HKUPOP) in a survey conducted for the police in 2013 and that data were suspected of being leaked.

But Chung had denied such accusation and stressed that all data of interviewees had been deleted six months after the survey.

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