DAB decries polls threats

Local | Cindy Wan 11 Oct 2019

The city's biggest pro-government parties protested outside the Electoral Affairs Commission's Office yesterday, saying their candidates and volunteers have been harassed by black-clad masked protesters.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and Federation of Trade Unions said their candidates for the upcoming District Council elections cannot campaign under threats of violence.

The polls are set for November 24.

Speaking outside the commission's office in Wan Chai yesterday, lawmaker Ben Chan Han-pan said some DAB candidates and volunteers had been surrounded by black-clad masked protesters during street campaigns.

Some reported being doxxed and intimidated as private information about them and family members were exposed on the web, he said.

"A few candidates who are running for the first time have considered giving up after being threatened," Chan said.

Other people have threatened shops that agreed to let the DAB display campaign posters.

The owners were told their shops would be "decorated" - destroyed - if they did not take down the posters, he said.

Chan expressed fears over safety at polling stations. "Voters might be too scared to cast votes if violent incidents take place on election day," he said.

Edward Lau Kwok-fan, another DAB lawmaker, urged the government to amend election regulations so candidates will not be required to have their home addresses published in the gazette.

"We don't know what measures the government will take [to ensure safe and fair elections], but we welcome all measures that are effective," FTU chairman Stanley Ng Chau-pei said, adding it was not safe to engage in campaign activities.

But as to whether the election should be postponed, both parties said it was a decision to be made by the government.

In response, a commission spokesman said: "The EAC does not want to see any threats or violence in the election. If any such complaints are received, EAC will refer them to the relevant law enforcement agencies for follow-up action."

There have been rumors the Registration and Electoral Office have not recruited enough helpers to operate polling stations.

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