Two charged for ‘re-posting blank votes call’

The ICAC on Thursday charged two people with inciting others to cast blank ballots in Sunday’s Legco polls by re-posting a social media post in which former lawmaker Ted Hui allegedly made such an appeal.

These are the first prosecutions under a new electoral law that bans the incitement of others to boycott polls or cast blank votes, something the government says might also violate the national security law.

The defendants, a 36-year-old salesman and a 65-year-old office assistant, were released on bail and told to appear in Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Court next Tuesday.

The anti-graft body accused the pair of inciting others to cast invalid votes by “public activity”.

“[The law] stipulates that ‘activity in public’ includes any form of communication to the public, and the distribution or dissemination of any matter to the public,” a statement said.

The ICAC noted that arrest warrants were issued last month for Hui and a former district councillor, Yau Man-chun, both of whom have left Hong Kong. They are also accused of inciting people to boycott the Legco polls or cast blank ballots.

Eight other people have also been arrested recently on suspicion of the same offence.