Pro-Beijing Kowloon West by-election candidate Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan has apologised after she falsely accused her pro-democracy opponent of never taking part in a legislative panel on housing, ahead of the election taking place this Sunday.

Speaking at a televised debate on the TVB news channel last Saturday, Chan – who goes by the name Yan – claimed rival Lee Cheuk-yan never once took part in the panel throughout his legislative tenure of more than 20 years.

Lee rejected Chan’s claims at an RTHK forum last Sunday, with evidence showing that he had been a member of the panel. He said Chan was lying and had violated election laws by making a false statement. At the time, Chan ignored his demands for an apology.

Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan.
Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan. Photo: TVB screenshot.

Lee told media outlets on Monday that he would report Chan to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

It is an offence for a person to publish “materially false or misleading statement of fact” about a particular candidate for the purpose of promoting or prejudicing the election of the candidate, according to section 26 of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance.

Hours after Lee threatened to take action, Chan’s team issued a statement to apologise for her mistake.

“It was a heated debate on land issues at the time, her intention was to point out that Lee Cheuk-yan did not take part in the [legislature’s] Panel on Development responsible for land planning, but mistakenly said Panel on Housing,” the statement read.

Lee Cheuk-yan Independent Commission Against Corruption
Lee Cheuk-yan (centre) outside the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Photo: Lee Cheuk-yan.

Lee did not accept Chan’s explanation and reported the case to the ICAC on Tuesday morning.

His team said Lee has been a member of the Panel on Housing for more than ten years: “Chan’s accusation is a serious false statement and a violation to election laws.”

“This is not just harmful to Lee, it is also harmful to the whole election, and harmful to everyone who cares about Hong Kong’s future,” the statement read.

Chan was a former broadcast journalist with TVB and Now TV news channels between 1999 and 2012. She was the political assistant for former health secretary Ko Wing-man between 2012 and 2017.

【踢爆陳凱欣虛假陳述,違反選舉條例!】#陳凱欣屈李卓人:「做咗幾十年議員,連房屋事務委員會都無入過!」事實:李卓人有超過十年是立法會房屋事務委員會委員。* 1998年-2000年* 2000年-2004年* 2012年-2016年經阿人多年來爭取,成功提高申請公屋入息上限,令更多市民得以合資格上樓;阿人更持續不斷爭取租金管制等有利民生的房屋政策。陳凱欣的指控是嚴重的虛假陳述、失實聲明,違反選舉條例!陳凱欣好學唔學,學前老闆梁振英做大話精。昨天港台 31 台論壇,陳凱欣仍然未收回該失實言論。欣為阿爺,選舉竟然由社會發展與政策願景的辯論,淪為以虛假陳述公然污衊對手的造謠抹黑戰,這不僅是對李卓人的傷害,也是對整場選舉的傷害,更是對所有關心香港未來的人的傷害。今次補選,正正是捍衛議會尊嚴,拒絕謊言治港,香港人的背水一戰。希望 11.25 投票日,真相可以戰勝謊言,戰勝虛偽。【選舉荒謬變質:回應論壇連環六抹黑】註:根據【選舉(舞弊及非法行為)條例】第二十六條,候選人或任何人為促使或阻礙某候選人或某些候選人當選,而發布有關該候選人或該些候選人的虛假或具誤導性達關鍵程度的事實陳述,即屬違法。#1125記得投票 #3號李卓人#為下一代 #背水一戰#選舉廣告【報名做義工】【組隊入信箱】【捐款支持李卓人】

Posted by 李卓人 Lee Cheuk Yan on Monday, 19 November 2018

Chan’s campaign has been embroiled in multiple controversies. Among them, she appeared as “health ambassador” on a large billboard advertisement for a pro-Beijing group, before joining the race. Her team apologised for plagiarising a document written by pro-democracy district councillors on local issues. She has also been accused of involvement in an alleged campaign giving out supermarket coupons to participants of her rally, which her team denies.

Other candidates for the November 25 by-election for the Kowloon West geographical constituency include Fung Kin-kee Frederick, Ng Dick-hay and Tzeng Li-wen Judy.

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.