A former Hong Kong district councillor has been granted bail pending sentencing, after pleading guilty to attempted fraud and violating election laws.

Tsang Kam-wing, who was a Tuen Mun district councillor, appeared at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts in front of Magistrate Edward Wong on Thursday. He had been remanded in custody for over two weeks after pleading guilty to engaging in “corrupt conduct to lodge false or misleading election return” and attempted fraud. 

Eastern Magistrates' Courts
Eastern Magistrates’ Courts. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

According to the prosecution, the former district councillor attempted to defraud the government of HK$24,000 in September 2020 by claiming that the amount was used to hire three electoral assistants for the upcoming Legislative Council election.

Tsang’s lawyer told the court on Thursday that he instead used the money to buy anti-epidemic supplies for the community “in view of the prolonged [Covid-19] pandemic,” as well as the ex-district councillor’s limited finances.

The lawyer also said that Tsang was “very remorseful,” and there was a great possibility that he would not be able to continue his work as a registered social worker because of the case.

Tsang Kam-wing
Tsang Kam-wing. Photo: Tsang Kam-wing, via Facebook.

In view of Tsang’s positive background report, as well as the consequences that the defendant would have to face, the barrister asked the magistrate to consider a suspended sentence or a community service order.

Wong said that while he would normally consider a prison term for such cases, taking Tsang’s guilty plea and the fact that it was his first offence into account, the court would adjourn sentencing pending a community service report.

The magistrate also cited the comments of a probation officer, who said that Tsang had not committed the offence for his own personal gain, and that the defendant had reflected upon his mistake and was regretful of disappointing his voters.

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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.