ICAC studying if pollster broke law over survey - RTHK
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ICAC studying if pollster broke law over survey

2021-12-04 HKT 12:40
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  • ICAC studying if pollster broke law over survey
The commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Simon Peh said on Saturday that the anti-graft body is studying whether a pollster has violated election laws, by including the options of casting blank votes in a survey about the upcoming Legco elections.

The Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute has been asking members of the public about their voting plans for the upcoming polls, and had included in possible responses the options of casting blank votes or not voting at all.

The ICAC chief earlier warned that the institute may breach the law, which bans inciting people to cast blank ballots.

Asked to clarify his comments on Saturday, Peh said things would depend on the circumstances.

"I'm not saying that offering such an option in the survey [is] definitely against the law, but I don't know how they would ask the question, how they would collate the data or how they would release the result," Peh said.

"If there is any element which amounts to inciting other people not to vote or to cast an invalid vote openly, publicly, that could be liable under the ordinance."

Peh however noted that it isn't illegal for people to cast blank or invalid ballots.

Speaking on a radio show, Peh also commented on polling stations which will be set up at three border control points, so Hong Kongers currently on the mainland can vote.

He said ICAC officers will be sent to those stations to monitor the situation, and his commission can still follow up on possible breaches of election laws that happen outside of Hong Kong.

"If we need to investigate any criminal behaviour, relevant authorities on the mainland can also help us," Peh said.

Last month, the ICAC said it would deploy around 800 staff at polling stations on election day on December 19, and its staff members would carry out enforcement action if necessary.