Date
19 November 2017
A volunteer calls on Macau residents to participate in the unofficial referendum on electoral reform. Photo: AFP
A volunteer calls on Macau residents to participate in the unofficial referendum on electoral reform. Photo: AFP

Four arrested as Macau police halt poll

Four people were arrested in Macau on Sunday as police shut down voting facilities where an unofficial referendum on electoral reform was being conducted amid strong objections from Beijing, Agence France-Presse reported.

Residents of the Chinese gaming hub were told they could vote at several locations across the territory, as well as online, but poll organizer Jason Chao said those attempting to take part in person were stopped by police, who confiscated the tablet computers people used to cast their vote, the report said.

The mock poll asked participants if they have confidence in Chief Executive Fernando Chui and if they want universal suffrage in the 2019 election.

Chui is running unopposed in the official election on Aug. 31, when he will be officially proclaimed chief executive by a 400-member committee.

Chao said four activists were arrested after polling began in the morning.

“Our volunteers were subjected to harassment by the police and four volunteers were taken away. Other stations were also forced to stop their activities,” Chao was quoted as saying. “The authorities are using all means to disrupt our activity.”

A spokesman for the Macau government said in a statement that the four were arrested for “disobeying” instructions from police.

Beijing’s liaison office in Macau said in a statement the organizers have “no authority” to hold the mock poll.

Related stories:

Chui pledges to work toward Macau’s long-term stability

Macau lawmaker warns of more protests by casino workers

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CG

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