Real Hong Kong News
30 August, 2016
Hong Kong’s Vote Rigging: The Secretive Group at the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau
Three Facebook posts by Henry Chan Wan-hoi on his experience in dealing with vote rigging complaints are going viral. Some also combined Mr Chan’s posts and shared across multiple Facebook pages.
A well-known author, radio host, and paranormal and supernatural researcher, Chan has been active in commenting on Hong Kong’s public affairs and political environment, and also actively file complaints against various government departments in the search of justice.
The three posts were first published on 29 August 2016 on Chan’s Facebook page. However, they were reportedly deleted from his page shortly after they were published.
Chan is known for his vast network inside different government departments. Many of his scoops were reported in mainstream media previously.
Below is the translation of Mr Chan’s posts:
Yesterday, I posted a teaser saying that I have got a major issue to tell the public. This is not at all my style – as those who know me would understand that I would not have publicly talked about things like this if I had any other choice. For example, I remain silent about the Dongjiang River water and Daya Bay scoops for a long time. In fact, I should not have talked about Hong Kong’s elections in public, but given that there is no alternative for me and the rapidly deteriorating situation we all see, I decided to share this publicly.
Four years ago, the year our last LegCo election was held, a contact of mine working in the media told me that he saw the ballots being circulated in a private banquet in Shenzhen the day before the election. Some of the gang members told their followers to “handle” the ballots. I found it impossible! I always believed in Hong Kong’s election. Normally, the ballots printed by the HKSAR Government would be stored in the Government Logistic Department, and will be sent to all polling stations on the day of the election. In which part of the logistic process, someone managed to take these ballots out? I had been investigating this matter with the Registration and Electoral Office (REO).
At first, there had been no official response. Later on, a contact of mine at the REO told me in private (who’s now left REO) that some ballots were sent to the homes of selected Returning Officers one week prior to the election day for them to bring to the polling stations on the day. It is hard to imagine what can be achieved in one week, but my contact cannot be certain how many Returning Officers and ballots were involved in the incident.
I told this scoop to some of my old pals working in the media space, but they all thought it was impossible to trace and no one would believe that the HKSAR government was involved in vote rigging. But looking at this incident now, it is probably not hard for anyone to believe.
Chapter Two (this is a little longer):
Let me tell you another incident. Eight years ago, after the (LegCo) election, I tried contacting my associates at the REO, asking them to submit the vote rigging cases to the authorities. My contacts at REO told me that there is no immediate need to submit, as there is no deadline for a legal plaint. However, I argued that the Election Ordinance sets a deadline on such case, and requested them to consult the Department of Justice (DoJ). These contacts told me that the DoJ confirmed that there is no time limit for such legal plaint. Three months later, they called to tell me that there was indeed a legal plaint deadline, which had expired and they could no longer submit to the DoJ and did not understand why DoJ would be such mistake.
I was very angry and held a meeting with them immediately. When asked what is the reason for making such a huge mistake, REO officers, including the most senior guy then, could not give a satisfactory answer, as if they were hinting that the DoJ deliberately misled them. I told them to give me those names, but they could not provide one. So in the next election (in 2012), I directly contacted my acquaintance, who was responsible for verifying electorates’ identities, he told me that he did not understand why his department reduced the number of staff in the division because it is impossible to verify all the electorates’ identities in the given timeframe.
So I told him to focus on all the cases of public housing with multiple surnames and give me the number of cases by the end of the process. I was told that there were over 20,000 of similar cases!!! I then turned directly to Mr Shum, the head of the election team, demanding him to bring some if not all cases to the authorities. His reply was, “we won’t press any charges, you go ahead and do it!” I then replied, “sure!” and then contacted the relevant parties at the ICAC, and arranged to meet them the next afternoon.
I personally went to the ICAC headquarters to request for an investigation of over 20,000 cases of suspected vote rigging, three senior investigators and their superior took my testimonial. I also asked the REO’s election team members and their head Mr Shum to give testimonial at the ICA on the same day, immediately after me. After the ICAC staff took our testimonial, they demanded the REO colleagues to provide relevant evidence for them to prosecute.
I still had faith in the ICAC back then, and thought that this would have at least sent a clear warning signal. Around two months later, the ICAC investigation division’s staff contacted me and said that an extremely unusual situation has happened. He said that the ICAC had repeatedly demanded the relevant departments to hand over all the names suspected to be involved in the vote rigging cases. The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB) insisted on refusing to handover any information, making it impossible for the ICAC to uphold the law, and he said that he is extremely disappointe. And I said him that if the CMAB can refuse to assist ICAC’s investigation, who else can monitor them? He remained silent. Since when our Hong Kong SAR Government has turned into this corrupted?
As I keep frequent contacts with various types of people within the REO, and have been discussing with them on cases of vote rigging and fake personal details. Some prosecution had taken place, but there were only a small handful and many of them had charges dropped at the end. Later on, I discovered a tiny detail: the REO could provide information in terms of whether the suspect casted his/her vote on election day.
I found this fishy. Before 1997, the bulky log books at each polling stations, of which staff uses to check voters’ ID numbers before giving them the ballot paper, would be bounded together and sent to the relevant department to be destroyed immediately after each election. Completely different from what is happening nowadays. So I began my investigation.
As I kept looking into this, a staff member at REO told me a fact (who’s left the REO): if the REO decides to sue one voter (which rarely happens), the voter’s name will be submitted to a certain person at the CMAB, within three days, relevant information about that individual will be sent to REO.
I was also told that nowadays, once the election is completed when everyone focuses on the ballot, the large bundles of log books are sent to the CMAB for a small group to input all listed information into “the system”. The log books will only be destroyed when this process is completed. WOW! Not even the REO knows what this group is, who are in this group and how does this group operate!
I began to have lots of questions: who manages this group? How was this group established? Are they civil servants? Are they from an outsourced company? What are their contracts like? Where is all the information stored? Who and how many people have access to this system? How long will this information be stored before being destroyed? Who monitors the actions of this group?
All these, apparently, are mysteries! Not a single soul knows the answers. This is very worrying! I wonder if anyone knows about the existence of this special group. Although the information in the log books cannot reveal who each voter voted for, but can verify who actually went to the polling stations.
I failed to find any alternative route to share the information listed in the above three chapters. I should not have told anyone about this. However, as I witness the rapid deterioration of the REO and ICAC in the past three months, I have to tell what I have found to all Hongkongers. I have been battling with the HKSAR Government for over a decade, and I am exhausted. I am fighting a state apparatus by myself – very slim chance in winning this fight. I originally thought that I could improve and perfect each structure gradually, unfortunately, the truth is: I am simply a naïve idealist!