Pro-democracy candidate who lost Hong Kong district council election by two votes files election petition saying white-clad men threatened polling staff

Brian Wong

A pro-democracy candidate who lost by two votes in November’s district council elections has asked a Hong Kong court to overturn the result, saying his opponent had a mob threaten to attack polling staff if their man lost.

The election petition filed on Monday by Law Ting-fai, who lost to incumbent Young Ka-on in Yuen Long district’s Ping Shan North constituency, is the third legal challenge to be lodged in relation to the November 24 poll, and the first launched by the pro-democracy camp.

Law’s 2,219 votes lost to Young’s 2,221, the closest margin of any constituency in the city.

In his High Court filing, Law, a former assistant to ex-lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man, asserts that Young rigged the election by having his supporters threaten voters and staff members at the polling stations.

Law Ting-fai (far right), was among a group of three pro-democracy candidates who said they would consider filing election petitions against election irregularity. Photo: May Tse

Law said that when votes were being counted at one polling station on election day, more than a hundred white-clad men gathered at the venue and threatened to attack polling staff if Law won the race – a claim that evoked the trauma of the indiscriminate mob attack on passengers and anti-government protesters at Yuen Long MTR station on July 21.

Law said the intimidation could be connected with what he claimed were numerous irregularities during the poll, including the counting of 25 votes – of which 17 were in favour of Young – that originally were ruled invalid. He also said he saw a village head allowed into a restricted area near where the ballot boxes were located.

Outgoing district councillor launches bid to invalidate poll result after losing seat

The defeated candidate also said that, after the election, he received a complaint from a supporter who said she had been tailed by Young’s agents after voicing support for Law outside the polling station.

Young Ka-on has been contacted for comment.

The district council elections, the first poll since the extradition bill protests broke out in June, ended with a record turnout of 2.94 million, or 71.2 per cent of registered voters. The pro-democracy camp won a majority of seats and took control of 17 of the city’s 18 district councils.

After the election, three pro-democracy candidates, including Law, have vowed to challenge the results on grounds of irregularities in the polling process.

The deadline for initiating a petition is January 29.

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