The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has arrested 72 people aged between 18 and 67, in relation to alleged vote-rigging in the information technology functional constituency (ITFC) of the 2016 Legislative Council elections, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Of the 36 males and 36 females arrested on Tuesday and Thursday, 68 were newly registered electors of the constituency and four were middlemen.
Most of those arrested were newly registered electors in the ITFC through their membership in two professional organizations in the information technology sector.
They were students, clerks, drivers and housewives, which would not have fulfilled the requirements of membership in the designated IT associations, the ICAC said.
It was also suspected that some individuals were paid money during the process.
The IT sector registered an increase of 5,399 new voters, more than 80 percent of the original electors. The two candidates — Charles Peter Mok, who went on to win with 6,253 votes, and Eric Yeung who secured 3,425 votes — have accused each other of rigging the election.
Mok said he welcomes the ICAC operation and attributed the criminal attempts to the lack of a unified standard in screening individuals in their membership applications.
Mok said a longer-term solution would be to broaden the base of the electors by allowing more professional organizations into the system, so that all of the 80,000 IT industry people could vote in the ITFC.
Witman Hung, president of Internet Professional Association (iProA), said he was unclear about the backgrounds of the arrestees, adding the ICAC had solicited details of his members as part of its investigation.
Hung said iProA uses a strict screening process in accepting new members.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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