Lawmakers request clear definition on damaging election

Local | 22 Apr 2021 6:48 pm

Lawmakers in a Legislative Council meeting today requested the government to give a clear definition on illegal actions that damage the election on voting day. 

The government earlier announced a new offence, to prohibit any person from inciting another person not to vote, to cast a blank or invalid vote by way of public activity during an election period. 

Lawmakers mentioned various examples, like calling people not to vote pro establishment parties, showing the 5+1 sign at the voting stations, or organising Lunch With You on voting day, and asked if such fall into the definition. 

One of the members Paul Tse Wai-chun said that the law should include the element of “damaging the election” for the new offence to be established, or otherwise it will become very disturbing to citizens. 

He gave an example, saying that someone could possibly break the law if he or she organizes a hike with friends on the voting day. 

The government replied that the examples given are hard to verify. The government also gave an example, saying that the law doesn’t explicitly define the term “pro establishment parties”. 

They also added that actions under the new crime are clearly stated, and the prosecutors will have to show evidence which proves the suspect is inciting people to break the law with intent. 

Other lawmakers from the pro establishment camp also had challenges, that the new offence for regulating illegal actions to damage election is meaningless, as national security law can serve the same purpose as well. 

The government then explained that it is the National People’s Congress Standing Committees that asked the city to launch law and regulate actions planning to damage the election. 

They added that the problem of casting bank ballots has come to the public’s attention and the new offence announced is necessary.

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