Pro-Beijing camp candidate Elaine Chik has won a seat in a District Council by-election, amid accusations by another candidate that she bribed voters with freebies.
The by-election on Sunday for Kai Hiu constituency in the Eastern District was to fill a seat vacated by Alice Lam, who passed away at the end of last year.
Lam’s assistant Enki Tan, a former pro-Beijing New People’s Party member, obtained 707 votes out of a total of 4,307 and came last out of three candidates. Tan previously accused Chik, who won with 2,268 votes, of giving out free rice bags and free meals in exchange for votes.
The final turnout rate was 49.35 per cent – around three per cent higher than that in the 2015 election.
Chik was supported by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Federation of Trade Unions – both major pro-establishment parties. Chik ran in 2015 against Lam, with Chik receiving 1,514 votes and Lam gaining 2,241 votes at the time.
Chik thanked the two other candidates, saying: “I learned a lot, I hope to do more for the community.”
The pro-democracy camp have not sent any candidates to run in this district in the past decade, but newcomer Alice Lee – who lived in the area for decades and started local work six months ago – gained 1,302 votes. It was higher than the 1,112 votes that pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin gained in the area in the March by-election.
Lee said she was new to politics and she was honoured to be a candidate, adding that she may run again next year in the District Council general elections.
Lee said she was not aware of any alleged election bribery, but said she was surprised by the small number of votes Tan received.
Electoral Affairs Commission Chairman Justice Barnabas Fung said election bribery was a serious accusation. He said that, for there to be a criminal case, oral evidence must be submitted, rather than relying on media reports, which were hearsay.
He said many election bribery accusations were not handled in the past as no one gave oral statements. He urged anyone who witnessed election bribery to come forward and give evidence. “It is important to keep our system open, fair and honest,” he said.
During the election, there was also an alleged incident of Chik’s supporter assaulting a resident. Chik called for restraint and said she did not accept any physical action or provocation.