The Hong Kong Social Workers General Union has urged 100 volunteers to join a “paparazzi” team to monitor whether private care homes will be “manipulating” elderly people to vote in the upcoming legislative by-election on March 11.

“If you do not wish to see elderly people ‘forced to vote,’ please sign up,” the notice said.

A similar 50-member team was formed in 2016 for the Legislative Council election. The union found that elderly people at the Shun Yan Elderly Centre in To Kwa Wan were given instructions to vote for pro-Beijing candidates.

elderly people vote instructions
Elderly people given instructions to vote in the 2016 Legislative Council election. Photo: Hong Kong Social Workers General Union.

According to the union, an unknown man pushed an elderly person in a wheelchair from the centre to a polling station in 2016, but the person denied to be care home staff or her grandson when confronted by social workers. They told him it was an offence to abet voting preferences.

The new team will be checking private care homes in the New Territories East, Kowloon West and Hong Kong Island area.

The union said the team will be asked to perform the tough task of outdoor monitoring and collecting evidence – situations which will require them to improvise.


Posted by 香港社會工作者總工會 (HKSWGU) on Sunday, 18 February 2018

Lun Chi-wai, one of the leaders of the union, told Apple Daily that they will focus their attention to large care home chains, and private homes which have significant numbers of posters promoting pro-Beijing candidates.

He said it would be inevitable that team members will challenge people if suspicious activity is found, and he said he hopes suspicious people will stop if challenged.

A briefing section is scheduled on March 3 at the union’s headquarters.

The public by-elections will take place on March 11 in the Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West and New Territories East constituencies after a court ejected Nathan Law, Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching from the legislature. The Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape functional constituency will also vote for a professional sector lawmaker.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.