A former Hong Kong district councillor has been remanded in custody after pleading guilty to attempted fraud and violating election laws.
Tsang Kam-wing, a former Tuen Mun district councillor, appeared at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Monday in front of Magistrate Edward Wong.
Tsang stands accused of two charges: engaging in “corrupt conduct to lodge false or misleading election return” and attempted fraud. The ex-district councillor pleaded guilty to both.
According to the prosecution’s case, Tsang submitted an expense declaration in September 2020 for the Legislative Council election, declaring election expenses of around HK$120,000, including HK$24,000 that Tsang said was used to hire three electoral assistants, the Witness reported.
However, an investigation by the by the city’s corruption watchdog, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, found that the trio did not assist with Tsang’s campaign. One of the three said he only signed a document that he thought was for subsidy declaration, as per a request from Tsang.
During mitigation, Tsang’s representative said that the ex-district councillor was a hardworking person, InMedia reported.
The lawyer also cited a mitigation letter written by Tsang, in which he said that he understood the severity of the incident and hoped that the court could be lenient as he had already learnt a valuable lesson, and there was a large possibility that he could not continue his work as a social worker in the future.
Tsang’s mitigation letter also detailed that he committed the offences because of time and money pressures, saying he needed money or else he would have had to pay all of his election expenses out of his own pocket, Ming Pao reported.
The magistrate adjourned the sentencing to January 26 after requesting Tsang’s background report, as Wong said he needed to understand why the defendant had committed the offences.
The magistrate also said that it was a very serious case and that imposing a jail term would be necessary, and that it was “even more disappointing” in Tsang’s case as he was a district councillor.
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