A police association has won an application for an injunction barring the public from checking personal details on the voters’ registry, amid privacy concerns for officers.

The District Council election will be held on November 24. Any citizen may visit government offices to the records which contain the names and addresses of registered voters.

The Junior Police Officers’ Association’s previous application to keep the registry secret was rejected by Mr Justice Anderson Chow.

high court
File photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

But the association appealed and Court of Appeal judges Jeremy Poon and Johnson Lam approved the injunction on Tuesday. The public will now be barred from checking the registers, though election candidates can still read them.

Abraham Chan SC, representing the Association, said the practice of doxxing had become common, and such privacy breaches often targetted police officers and their families, reported Ming Pao.

Chan said the court must protect children after threats were made to kidnap police officers’ children.

He said that the Electoral Affairs Commission could list voters’ names and addresses in two different tables, adding that candidates may still campaign for votes online rather than using voters’ physical addresses.

Junior Police Officers' Association Chair Lam Chi-wai
Junior Police Officers’ Association Chair Lam Chi-wai. Photo: i-Cable screenshot.

But Raymond Leung SC, representing the government, said there was no evidence to show that any officers’ personal data released online had come from the registers, reported HK01.

He said six political parties and 26 candidates had received the registers, and it would be unfair for other candidates not to receive them.

Leung added that the registers have been made public for over two dates and the practice made elections fair, open and transparent, as well as a deterrent to vote-rigging.

He said it would be a criminal offence for voters or candidates to use the information in the registers for reasons other than for elections. He argued that records from the Land Registry, as well as the Marriage Registry, could also be used for revealing police officers’ personal details.

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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.