The Hong Kong government has warned people against issuing malicious personal attacks, and using intimidation and threats, against election officers involved in decisions on election nominations.
In a statement issued on Monday, the government said those participating in election activities should do so peacefully, rationally and lawfully, adding that authorities will take action against people who disrupt order or act illegally during such activities, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The warning came after an electoral officer’s personal data, including his full name, home address and photo, were put online by a netizen on Monday, while another wished that traffic accidents occur to his family members and leave them disabled for life.
Nomination decisions were made in accordance with the law and police will investigate the attacks, the statement said.
The officer is believed to be Alan Lo Ying-ki, who is in charge of the New Territories West constituency for the Legislative Council election scheduled for Sept. 4, and netizens’ outrageous posts on social media might be related to the candidate nomination process that ended last Friday, Apple Daily said.
Lo told Chan Ho-tin, convenor of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), in a letter on Saturday that his bid to run for a seat in the New Territories West constituency has been turned down on the basis on his political platform and the comments he made after submission of his application.
Chan signed the old declaration form, but not the new confirmation form required by the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), which says that the candidate upholds the Basic law – the city’s mini-constitution – and recognizes that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China.
Chan vowed on Sunday to launch a campaign to defend his right to run in the election.
He said he will lead a protest in front of the Government Headquarters in Admiralty this Friday and write letters to the United Nations, the British government and international human rights organizations to draw their attention to the matter.
Stephen Wong Kai-yi, Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, said in a statement he was aware some netizens have banded together to track down election officers and reveal their personal data to the public.
Wong called on netizens to respect other people’s privacy to avoid violating the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.
Personal data obtained from public domain is still subject to the regulation of the ordinance, and any means used to collect such data must be lawful and fair, he said.
According to the ordinance, an offender, once convicted, will face a fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment of up to two years.
Reacting to the cyber-bullying incident, the HKNP said it understands and respects the actions taken by some Hongkongers to resist the ruling system.
The group said public servants cannot be excused of legal or moral responsibilities even if they say they are merely following orders from their superiors.
– Contact us at [email protected]