A man and a woman were given suspended jail sentences on Tuesday, as they became the first people to be convicted of inciting others to cast blank ballots in elections.
Chan Kin-man, 36, and Alice Leung, 65, earlier pleaded guilty to reposting a social media appeal by Ted Hui, a former lawmaker living abroad, who called on voters to cast a blank vote in last December’s Legco elections.
The two were arrested around a week after they shared the post.
In mitigation, the defence said Chan is remorseful and had removed the social media post when he was being investigated. Leung, meanwhile, has deleted her account.
The defence also noted that inciting others to cast blank ballots is a new offence, and its severity should be lower than other incitement offences.
In handing down sentence, Kwun Tong magistrate Bina Chainrai said a heavy penalty was needed to reflect the gravity of the case. She then sentenced the pair to two months in jail, suspended for 18 months.
They’ve also been ordered to pay court fees of HK$1,000 each.
While casting a blank vote or boycotting an election is not an offence in Hong Kong, a new law that the government introduced last year made it illegal for people to encourage others to do so.