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The head of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Barnabas Fung, said on Monday he's very sorry for the delay in the announcement of the Election Committee results, saying the time needed "far exceeded reasonable expectations".
He had said on Sunday that he expected all results to be announced at around midnight – or six hours after voting ended.
However, the results of the first sub-sector – involving around 50 votes – did not come until 3am.
Fung said initial findings showed that there were problems with the ballot verification papers, likely because of officials filling in the wrong boxes.
"The problem mainly lies with the hand fill-in ballot paper account – there are some minor discrepancies," he told reporters.
"We're looking into the problem as to whether counting could still be conducted side-by-side with the reconciliation of the ballot paper account."
Fung insisted the problem had nothing to do with the electronic voter registrar or the automatic counting system, saying they mostly worked smoothly except for the jamming of the counting paper a few times.
Fung pledged a thorough review of the problem and a report will be filed to the Chief Executive.
Last updated: 2021-09-20 HKT 07:07
The poll to select the Election Committee has closed, with a voter turnout of around 90 percent by 10pm.
It's the first vote since Beijing revamped Hong Kong's electoral system. The expanded committee has 1,500 seats and is tasked to select the next Chief Executive and a large number of the SAR's lawmakers.
But only about a quarter of the seats are being contested, with some 4,900 voters being eligible to cast their ballots.
All candidates have passed a vetting process that ensures only those deemed patriots can hold public office.
By 10pm, 4,380 people have voted, representing a turnout of about 90 percent.
Three sectors saw a 100 percent turnout – with every one of the 30 eligible voters in the legal sector, 54 voters in the Technology and Innovation one, and all 55 voters in the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape sector having cast their ballots.
Results are expected overnight.
Last updated: 2021-09-19 HKT 23:41
The Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) said on Sunday that its members would discuss and vote on a motion to disband on October 3.
Leaders of CTU said they had received messages that if they continued to run the group, their personal safety might be at risk.
Its vice president, Leo Tang, said they felt terrified, but he said he could not divulge any more details.
“We cannot tell the details on what kind of messages we have got and lead us to the decision. We are sorry about that. We really couldn’t tell the details. But it is clear for our leadership that we feel terrified,” he said.
He also denied allegations that the group had been colluding with foreign forces, saying they had merely cooperated and communicated with international unions on labour rights issues.
CTU's chief executive, Mung Siu-tat, announced on Saturday that he had resigned from the post and had left Hong Kong urgently, citing personal safety.
The umbrella union was founded in 1990. It says it currently represents more than 80 affiliates from various sectors.
The announcement came after the Professional Teachers' Union and the Civil Human Rights Front dissolved.
Police have arrested a 40-year-old man for allegedly stabbing three workers at a bakery in Cheung Sha Wan on Sunday morning.
The attack took place at around 7 am at the Hoi Lai Shopping Centre. A 60-year-old woman, surnamed Lam, was cut on the forehead; and a 63-year-old woman, surnamed Hui, was cut on the face. A 39-year-old man, surnamed Szeto, was also hurt, receiving a cut to his arm.
The suspect, surnamed Kwok, fled the scene but later turned himself in to the police.
Police are investigating the motive but it is understood the man has a record of mental illness.
The victims were sent in a conscious state to the Caritas Medical Centre in Sham Shui Po
Health officials on Sunday reported three new imported Covid-19 cases.
One of them was a 38-year-old man who arrived from the Philippines.
He earlier received two doses of the BioNTech vaccine in Hong Kong and tested positive for antibodies in July.
The two other patients both flew in from Qatar and both were fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
None of them had developed any symptoms.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Health Protection has ordered people who stayed at Block K of Kornhill in Quarry Bay to undergo tests, after a 16-year-old boy tested positive after he travelled from the SAR to the United Kingdom.
The boy received two doses of BioNTech jabs in Hong Kong in July, landed in the UK on September 6 and tested positive there on September 16.
The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Erick Tsang, said on Sunday that there had been an enthusiastic response to the Election Committee poll.
By 11am, 1,450 people have voted in the election – about 30 percent of voters.
A total of 412 candidate are competing for 364 seats in 13 subsectors. The vote started at 9am at five polling stations across Hong Kong.
Speaking after inspecting the polling stations, Tsang said everyone should support the election as it was important to the SAR.
“This improvement of our electoral system is a very good thing to every Hong Kong citizen. It’s good for our One Country Two Systems to be fully implemented,” he said.
“I hope that and I appeal to every voter to come out to cast their votes and exercise their responsibilities.”
Meanwhile, the Electoral Affairs Commission’s chairman, Barnabas Fung, said queues appeared at some polling stations in the morning, but he said things had been running smoothly.
He said the commercial sector had seen the highest turnout of 60 percent, with 57 voters having cast their ballots.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Sunday dismissed suggestions that the revamped electoral system is designed to screen out opposition voices.
She made the remarks as voting began for about a quarter of the 1,500 seats on the election committee.
Some 4,900 voters are eligible to cast their ballots at five polling stations across Hong Kong.
All candidates have passed a vetting process that ensures only those deemed to be patriots can hold public office.
The rest of the seats have already been decided – either because they're uncontested, appointed, or are ex-officio positions. Of 40 subsectors, competitive polls will be held for just 13.
The election committee will choose the SAR’s next chief executive and the largest grouping in the new Legislative Council.
Lam said the vetting mechanism is to safeguard national security and national interest.
“The whole objective of improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is to ensure patriots administer Hong Kong. This is a very legitimate objective of any public election in any government,” she said.
“I doubt very much that another government or another country will allow the public elections to their local legislature to consist of people whose mission is to undermine the national interest or the national security,” said Lam.
"We still welcome people from all walks of life, people who have different opinion about the government policies, to go into the political system, as long as we all share the common objective that we will continue to succeed under One Country Two Systems and we will not do anything to undermine national security.”
The Vice-Premier, Han Zheng, told the Chief Executive to uphold the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" and organise well the coming three "major" elections in accordance with the law.
The state leader was speaking on Saturday as he met Carrie Lam in Shenzhen one day ahead of the Election Committee elections.
He said he "fully recognises" the results achieved by the SAR government in terms of the pandemic, the territory's economic recovery and alleviating livelihood issues.
Han also expressed the hope that the administration would unite and lead all sectors in Hong Kong, continue with its anti-pandemic effort and plan for the future.
The vice-premier also told Hong Kong to seize the opportunities in the Greater Bay Area and deepen cooperation with the mainland.
In response, Lam thanked the central government for its care and support and said the SAR government would handle the elections seriously.
She also said Hong Kong would actively participate in the development of the Greater Bay Area and Qianhai to improve the city going forward as it integrates into the mainland’s development.
An off-duty police officer was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of assaulting a man in Tsim Sha Tsui's nightlife district in the early hours.
A spokesman from the force said it received a report at around 4am that a 32-year-old man hit another man in Knutsford Terrace over what he described as "trivial matters".
The suspect was later confirmed to be a police officer and was held on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The police spokesman said the force attaches great importance to officers' conduct and it will not tolerate any illegal acts.
A political cartoonist on Saturday apologised after his latest work published on a newspaper linked the Junior Police Call (JPC) to a recent row over the Hong Kong Journalists Association.
The security secretary, Chris Tang, earlier said that HKJA had "infiltrated" schools to recruit students to become members, but the association has dismissed the claim.
The police have written to Justin Wong, a visual arts assistant professor at the Baptist University, criticising him of "making groundless accusations" and "smearing" the JPC. The force also demanded him to clarify the matter.
The cartoon was published in the supplement page in Mingpao on Friday, in which two students discussed joining extra-curricular activities.
One of them said he had become a student reporter.
"Were you recruited to join the association... so you could pretend to be a journalist and do whatever you want?" the other pupil asked.
"Where did you hear the fake news from?" the first student asked in response.
"I don't know. Friends from JPC," the other student said.
Wong admitted it's inappropriate and unfair to involve the JPC in the row and it was never his intention to smear the group.
He added that he respects the contributions made by the JPC.