Following is the transcript of the answer given by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, to a question from the media after attending the Legislative Council meeting this afternoon (March 22):
Reporter: There are reports that Beijing officials are lobbying for support for certain candidates. Is that in accordance with Hong Kong laws?
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs: Under our electoral legislation and rules, anybody can stand for elections, anybody can canvass for votes, anybody can lobby for support for a certain candidate. But there are also legislation and rules stipulating that nobody should ever use any force or any threats to change the independent desire of a voter to cast or not to cast a vote for a certain candidate. That is against the law, and the penalty is actually quite substantive. Under the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance, if anyone should violate such rules, I recall that the maximum penalty could be imprisonment for a maximum of seven years. So anyone, if they should mess up with individual voter, so to speak, using force or threats, would violate the law. I am sure that anyone, if they consider that they are under such force or threats, should report to the ICAC for further investigation.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Thursday, March 22, 2012