As Hong Kong heads to the polls, accusations of candidates offering free rides, volunteers giving out ballot samples and poll station officers accepting photocopies of ID cards as proof of identity have surfaced. The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) said it received 186 complaints as of 9am.

Photocopied IDs

In a Facebook video posted Sunday afternoon, Erica Yuen Mi-ming, Chairwoman of pan-democratic party People Power, claimed that she was able to cast her ballot after providing a “blurry” photocopy of her ID card as proof of identity.

Erica yuen
Erica Yuen.

She claimed that it would be easy to falsify the identities of voters and criticised the voting process as “flimsy”.

albert chan
Albert Chan Wai-yip. File photo: HKFP.

Yuen’s claims came after Albert Chan Wai-yip, a candidate for the same party, alleged that the presiding officer at the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers Wong Cho Bau School polling station on Lantau Island had accepted a photocopy of a voter’s ID card as proof of identity before he cast his ballot at around 8am. The officer told Chan he was allowed to “exercise discretion” in accepting the photocopied document. Chan reported the incident to the EAC.

Responding to enquiries from reporters, EAC Chairman Barnabas Fung Wah said voters must provide proof of their identity when receiving their ballots, but the document does not necessarily have to be an ID card. He added that the commission would thoroughly investigate all complaints.

Sample ballots

Separately, Stand News reported that a “care worker” entered the Po Leung Kuk Lam Man Chan English Primary School polling station in Tokwawan and distributed replicas of ballot papers to elderly people. The boxes for pro-Beijing candidates Ann Chiang Lai-wan and Starry Lee Wai-king were ticked on the replica ballots.

Replicas of ballot papers distributed to elderly people. Photo: Stand News
Replicas of ballot papers distributed to elderly people. Photo: Stand News

The “care worker” was confronted by poll watchers from the Hong Kong Social Workers’ General Union, and reportedly argued with them.

Free rides

Now TV also reported that elderly people in Pat Heung, a rural area in Yuen Long, were driven to polling stations in four-seater and seven-seater private cars. Drivers were seen wearing the uniforms of pro-Beijing candidate Leung Che-cheung’s campaign team.

Elderly people driven to a polling station. Photo: Now TV screenshot.
Elderly people driven to a polling station. Photo: Now TV screenshot.

Some elderly people told Now TV that they did not recognise the numbers or the faces of the candidates that they had voted for. Leung maintained that there was nothing wrong with transporting voters to polling stations, but said he would remind his team not to wear campaign uniforms while driving.

EAC Chairman Fung said the commission has received 186 complaints as of 9am Sunday morning. The complaints were mostly related to election advertising (118 cases) and canvassing (17).

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.