LC Paper No. LS110/98-99
Paper for the House Committee MeetingObject(s) of the Bill
of the Legislative Council
on 5 February 1999
Legal Service Division Report on
Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Bill 1999
To outlaw conduct which would prejudice the credibility of elections of the Legislative Council, the proposed District Councils, Heung Yee Kuk and the executive committee of a Rural Committee.
LegCo Brief Reference
2. CAB C1/30/2/1 dated 28 January 1999.
Date of First Reading
3. 3 February 1999.
4. At present, corrupt and illegal conduct at elections are prohibited under the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Ordinance (Cap. 288) (CIPO).
5. The Bill is intended to make fresh provisions regulating such conduct, thereby replacing the CIPO entirely.
6. The Bill will, like the CIPO, classify such conduct into corrupt conduct and illegal conduct but a clearer distinction between the two types of conduct will be drawn -
- corrupt conduct to involve an intentional act that would produce a more direct effect on the election; and
- illegal conduct to consist of conduct that would have a less direct effect on the election.
7. Under the Bill's proposals, corrupt conduct will be subject to a higher maximum penalty of $500,000 fine and 7 years imprisonment upon conviction on indictment and $200,000 fine and imprisonment for 3 years upon summary conviction. For an illegal conduct, the maximum penalty is $200,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment on indictment and $50,000 fine and 1 year imprisonment on summary conviction.
8. Under the Bill's classification, corrupt conduct will include -
- to bribe people to stand or not to stand as candidates at an election or to withdraw their candidature, or
- to use force, threats or deceit against people to induce them to stand or not to stand as candidates at an election or to withdraw their candidature, or
- to destroy or deface completed or partly completed nomination papers, or
- to bribe people to vote at an election for a particular candidate or particular candidates, or not to vote at an election or not to vote for a particular candidate or particular candidates, or
- to provide electors with food, drink or entertainment at an election, or
- to use force, threats or deceit on people to induce them to vote for a particular candidate or particular candidates, or not to vote at an election or not to vote for a particular candidate or particular candidates, or
- to impersonate an elector at an election, or
- to engage in irregular voting activities, such as voting in more than one geographical constituency or voting more than once at an election in the same constituency, or
- to destroy or deface ballot papers, or
- to withdraw an election petition or an election appeal for an improper reason, or
- to lodge an election return containing false or misleading information, or
- to use election donations for a purpose other than that of meeting or contributing towards meeting a candidate's election expenses.
and it will be illegal conduct -
- for a person, other than a candidate or an election expense agent, to incur election expenses at or in connection with an election, or
- for an election expense to be incurred at or in connection with an election that exceeds the maximum amount prescribed by the Chief Executive in Council, or
- for a person to publish a false statement to the effect that a person is a candidate, or is no longer a candidate, at an election, or
- for a person to make false statements about a candidate, or
- for a person to claim that a person or an organization is supporting a candidate at an election without the permission of the person or organization.
9. The Administration has sought the views of major political parties and independent Members of the Council and has also gathered views expressed in the media and by commentators and the general public.
Consultation with LegCo Panel
10. The Administration consulted the Panel on Constitutional Affairs on 21 December 1998.Recommendation
11. The Bill is an important means to ensure that elections are conducted free from corruption and undue influences. Members would find it necessary to study the Bill in detail.
CHEUNG Ping-Kam, Arthur
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
3 February 1999