A 73-year-old woman who took part in vote rigging during the 2011 elections was sentenced to six weeks in jail at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The defendant, Choi Kai-kwan, is the sister of Choi Luk-sing, a former District Councillor at the Lung Sing constituency in Wong Tai Sin. In 2011, when Choi Luk-sing was seeking re-election, he asked his sister, who did not live in his constituency, to vote for him.
The defendant then gave him her identity card details and her voter address was changed to Lung Poon Court in Diamond Hill. She cast her vote as an elector in the Lung Sing constituency during the elections.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) then launched an investigation following a complaint. Choi admitted one count of engaging in corrupt conduct with respect to voting at an election last December.
Magistrate Peter Law said that the road to election was riddled with difficulties, and for a society to be civilised and democratic, fair elections were required, RTHK reported. Law said that although Choi ultimately lost in the elections, such behaviour undermined fairness in elections and the core values of the society.
He also said that vote rigging must be prevented as it not only involved defrauding the public authorities, the voters and the candidates, but also wasted resources in the event a re-election was required. As such, the sentence was not affected by whether a candidate won or lost.
Counsel for the defence said that the defendant’s eldest daughter had a relapse with cancer during the time of the offence and she was worn out from taking care of her. She had also been prevented from coming forth to accuse her brother out of loyalty to him. The magistrate reduced the sentence from 12 weeks to six because no financial transaction was involved.