An undercover reporter from television network i-Cable has filmed supporters of Chief Executive-elect Carrie Lam appearing to receive HK$600 after attending Sunday’s election day event.
Video footage showed a man paying two supporters and the reporter a sum of money, after they reportedly attended a rally in support of Lam outside Wan Chai’s Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Publié par 新聞刺針 sur dimanche 26 mars 2017
Inside the venue, 777 of 1,194 electors voted in Carrie Lam as Hong Kong’s next leader in a small-circle election. The former chief secretary had long been rumoured to be Beijing’s favoured candidate, and some electors complained of being pressured to vote for her.
When confronted later by i-Cable reporters, the man denied paying participants to support Lam. “What’s wrong with treating someone to a meal?” the man asked, before walking away from the journalists.
According to the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance, it is illegal for persons other than candidates and their authorised expense agents to incur expenses in connection with an election.
‘Who cares who we’re shouting for?’
Earlier, rally participants told i-Cable that they had been asked to come by various fraternity associations in Hong Kong. Fraternity associations are community organisations, which are devoted to serving Hongkongers who originate from different parts of China.
In the past, these organisations have been accused of giving gifts to encourage people to vote for pro-Beijing candidates during local elections.
One participant told i-Cable she was from the Guangxi association, while another said he was from Fujian. They shouted slogans such as: “Anti-Hong Kong independence, support Carrie Lam!”
“Who cares who we’re shouting for? As long as they pay us money,” one participant then said.
After Lam’s electoral victory was announced at around 12:30pm, rally organisers asked participants to take a group photograph. They said that participants would be treated to a meal, and that money would be paid. The entire event lasted for around five hours.
i-Cable reported that the rally was organised by a pro-Beijing group called Voice of Justice, but the convener of the group denied paying any money to participants. “You can check for yourself and provide evidence,” he told i-Cable.
In response to i-Cable’s enquiries, Carrie Lam’s campaign office said that it had no relationship with the rally, and did not know anything about the rally’s operations.
“We are talking about an evidence-based society, and I don’t know anything about it,” Lam told reporters on Monday.
i-Cable currently faces an uncertain future after its parent company announced in early March that it would no longer fund the television network after its current license expires in May.