A Democratic Party district councillor was disqualified on Tuesday after a Hong Kong court ruled that his election was not valid because he hadmade false statements about his opponent’s political affiliation.

The High Court said Hinson Hung, representing the Tsui Ping Constituency in Kwun Tong, had falsely claimed that his opponent, Cheng Keung-fung was not an independent candidate.

Hinson Hung
Hinson Hung. File photo: Hinson Hung, via Facebook.

Cheng filed an election petition – a legal challenge against the result of the 2019 election – saying Hung had accused him of being a “fake independent” candidate in election leaflets.

Hung had pointed out that Cheng was part of a pro-establishment group called Positive Synergy. He also used slogans such as “Be aware of fake independents” in the promotional materials.

Judge Anderson Chow ruled that since Cheng had never claimed to be an independent, Hung was misleading the public with the statements.

Ahead of the judgement, Hung said in a Facebook post on Monday that he hoped that Hong Kong people could “keep hope during the dark times.” He added: “Dictators have never passed up any opportunity to oppress the public…”

Pro-democracy candidates swept the district council elections held in November 2019 amid widespread anti-government protests, winning 388 out of 479 seats. Hung was the first elected candidate to be disqualified since then.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.