27 October 2016
About 66 percent of residents at Cambridge Nursing Home in Mong Kok registered for this year's district council elections. Photos: HKEJ, Apple Daily
About 66 percent of residents at Cambridge Nursing Home in Mong Kok registered for this year's district council elections. Photos: HKEJ, Apple Daily

Vote-rigging allegations center on Mong Kok nursing home

An old woman living at Cambridge Nursing Home on Fuk Wing Street in Mong Kok said her voter registration was changed from her original residence in Sham Shui Po to Lai Chi Kok North without her authorization before the District Council elections last month.

The woman’s statement added to suspicions of vote-rigging in this year’s DC elections.

Now over 80 years old, the woman surnamed Chan said she has been a regular voter in DC elections and is well versed with the voting procedures.

According to the final registers of electors for the 2011 DC elections, there was no voter registration using the Cambridge Nursing Home address, Apple Daily reported.

However, at least 93 senior voters used it as their registered address in this year’s DC elections, accounting for 66 percent of all the residents at the institution.

This is considered an unusually high proportion of voters among people with impaired mobility and needing special attention to go about their daily lives.

Chum Tak-shing, winner of the election for the Lai Chi Kok North constituency, said he visited the nursing home in October after receiving a complaint from Chan.

From his visit, Chum said he realized over half of the residents there were lacking in cognitive abilities. He said only around 20 residents of the nursing home could still communicate with others.

Chum cited one voter registration form, where the signature could have been forged since the supposed signatory was an old man who could not even hold a pen as his arms were disabled.

“Unless he has learned to sign using his mouth to hold a pen,” Chum said.

He said many residents were not even aware they were registered voters, adding that he will file a complaint with the Registration and Electoral Office and ask for an investigation.

Au Wai-sang, the person-in-charge at the nursing home, said the Home Affairs Department sent staff to help residents register as voters in July, something which the department has denied in a reply to queries from Apple Daily.

Au said he has no ideas about voters’ addresses being changed and said he did not open his nursing home to any political parties or candidates to help residents register for the recent election.

However, he did admit that pro-establishment candidate Wong King made multiple visits to the nursing home to give gifts to residents about a year ago.

Wong, who gained 877 votes in the Lai Chi Kok North election this year, lost to Chum, who garnered 1,173 votes.

The nursing home on Fuk Wing Street is now vacated after the expiry of lease, Apple Daily reporters learned on Tuesday. Au and his 60-plus residents have reportedly moved to new premises in Tsuen Wan.

When Apple Daily reporters probed Au at the Tsuen Wan nursing home, he finally admitted that the voter registration was set up by one of the shareholders of his organization.

There are at least six nursing homes for the elderly within the Lai Chi Kok North constituency.

The total number of voters among nursing home residents in the district jumped from 11 in 2011 to 112 this year, representing a ninefold increase. 

Wong admitted he went to the Cambridge nursing home on the day of voting on Nov. 22, but said he left after bringing volunteers to the institution.

He said he went to the nursing home to offer his help to the old people, adding that there was no point in digging into vote-rigging allegations as he has lost in the election.

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