Date
12 December 2017
A letter from the ROE (inset) requests verification of a voter's details. The Sha Tin Magistrates' Courts are hearing cases of alleged irregularities in registration.
Photo: HK government
A letter from the ROE (inset) requests verification of a voter's details. The Sha Tin Magistrates' Courts are hearing cases of alleged irregularities in registration. Photo: HK government

Illegal building can be valid voter address, court rules

Magistrate Andrew Ma Hon-cheung lamented the housing problems Hongkongers face, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.

Ma was hearing in a court in Sha Tin on Tuesday some of the more than 800 complaints that have been filed against apparent irregularities in voter registration. 

People with different surnames registering with the same residential address, non-existent addresses or addresses of commercial premises, hotels or buildings that have been demolished were among some of the causes of complaint.

Among the complaints handled on Tuesday, 54 were filed by Yiu Kit-ying, district council candidate for the Stanley, Shek O and Big Wave Bay constituency.

Yiu complained that the address of a squatter home registered by a voter surnamed Cheung is non-existent and the building in which he lives is illegal.

The candidate asked the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) to cancel Cheung’s voter qualification and publish guidelines on voters using addresses of squatter dwellings.

Cheung told the court his squatter home can be reached via a short path.

And the REO said whether the building is legal is not its concern.

A person’s voter registration is valid as long as it is proved that he or she lives at that address, it said.

The REO cited a court ruling in the past allowing a street sleeper to use a park as his voter registration address.

The magistrate agreed with the REO and let the registration stand.

Yiu also complained that a man named Chan had used his shop’s address for voter registration.

Chan told the court he lives in his shop and has been using the address for voter registration since he turned 18.

Ma dismissed the complaint, ruling that it is not impossible that Chan lives in the shop, as it has a penthouse.

The magistrate also threw out a complaint against a person who registered using the address of a hotel, after the person submitted to the court a rental agreement for a long-term stay there.

Democratic Party candidates Chong Win-fai and Bonnie Ng Hoi-yan filed a total of 117 complaints, mostly against registrations using the addresses of demolished or vacated residential buildings.

The magistrate accepted 79 of those complaints ruling that those registrations were invalid.

Among several complaints filed by the Civic Party was one against a family of six people, who used a total of four different surnames in their voter registrations.

The householder, surnamed Lam, and his wife, surnamed Au, dismissed the complaint as a joke.

They said the other two surnames were of their son-in-law and daughter-in-law, who live with them.

The Civic Party apologized to the couple after the court threw out the complaint.

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EL/AC/FL

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