Hong Kong detains another 27 over vote-rigging


07:43 PM January 7th, 2012

January 7th, 2012 07:43 PM

HONG KONG—Hong Kong anti-corruption authorities said Saturday they had arrested another 27 people for alleged vote-rigging in local elections that were dominated by pro-Beijing candidates.

The latest arrests brought the total number to 53 after the district polls in November, according to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Seven of the 53 have been charged in court.

The 27 include a defeated candidate, his election agent, an “associate” and 24 voters, the ICAC said in a statement, adding that they were detained in an operation since Thursday.

The anti-corruption watchdog said the candidate — which it did not name — his agent and the “associate” had “engaged in or attempted to commit corrupt conduct” by asking non-eligible voters to vote.

The remaining 24 were held on suspicion of lying to electoral officials about their residential addresses before polling.

“The arrestees have been released on ICAC bail. Inquiries are continuing,” the commission said.

About 1.2 million voters took part in the polls, a turnout of around 41.4 percent, a record for the semi-autonomous Chinese territory since its handover from British rule in 1997.

Pro-Beijing party the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong secured 136 of a total of 412 district seats, compared with only 47 for the Democratic Party, leading the pro-democracy camp.

The Federation of Trade Unions, another supporter of Beijing’s strong influence in Hong Kong’s affairs, took 29 seats after fielding only 48 candidates.

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