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Hong Kong: Four people charged with reposting 'boycott calls' for 2021 election

Hong Kong: Four people in Hong Kong were charged on Wednesday for allegedly reposting social media content, prompting users to cast blank votes or not to vote in the 2021 Legislative Council election, Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.

Hong Kong's anti-corruption watchdog, Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) accused physiotherapist Wong Chi-Yan, graphic designer Wu Hong-ki, financial dealer Kwok Kin-Chiu and Mabel Yick, unemployed of reposting the contents of democracy activists on their social media pages, asking people to not vote or cast an invalid ballot.

"Each faces one count of engaging in illegal conduct to incite another person not to vote, or to cast an invalid vote, by activity in public during the election period, contrary to Section 27A (1) of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance (ECICO)," the ICAC said in the statement.

The four suspects were released on ICAC bail and will appear in court on Friday.

All four accused shared or reposted the story, which was originally posted by former lawmaker Ted Hui, ex-district councilor Yau Man-Chun or activist Sunny Cheung, according to HKFP.
The three activists have all left the city and are in self-exile, with Hui in Australia, Yau in the UK, and Cheung in the US. Hong Kong has issued arrest warrants for the trio.

According to previous press releases and news reports, more than a dozen people have been arrested over the activists' posts. They include former district councillors and student leaders.

In March 2021, Beijing passed legislation to ensure "patriots" govern Hong Kong. This move reduced the reduced democratic representation in the legislature, tightened control of elections, and introduced a pro-Beijing vetting panel to select candidates.

The Hong Kong government said the overhaul would ensure the city's stability and prosperity. But the changes also prompted international condemnation, as it makes it near-impossible for pro-democracy candidates to stand, reported HKFP.

The poll saw a record-low turnout of 30.2 per cent, with all but one of the 90 seats won by pro-establishment candidates. It also saw the highest percentage of blank votes cast - at about two per cent of the total - since the Handover in 1997. (ANI)

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