- Junior Police Officers’ Association warns it will launch a judicial review and call for urgent injunction following months of social unrest and doxxing attacks
- Under city’s current election regulations, the chief electoral officer compiles all eligible voters’ full names and residential addresses for major elections
Hong Kong's largest police group has threatened to take a local election authority to court in a bid to block the names of officers among all eligible District Council voters from public inspection, the Post has learned.
The Junior Police Officers' Association (JPOA) warned it would launch a judicial review and call for an urgent injunction order as police and politicians have battled online doxxing during months of social unrest.
In a legal letter sent on Monday and obtained by Post, the JPOA accused the Registration and Electoral Office " which by law discloses all voters' names and residential addresses in the public registry " of violating police officers and their families' right to privacy.
Under the city's current election regulations, the chief electoral officer compiles all eligible voters' full names and residential addresses in a final registry for major elections.
Members of the public could make a request to inspect the particulars of the registry, which is sometimes used by political parties and media to investigate vote-rigging. The registry for a specific constituency would also be passed to the candidate for campaigning purposes.
The association however said allowing the public to know exact address of voters and their families was "a wholly unnecessary measure, which goes beyond any legitimate purpose … of an election".
It also said that even if list of voters' needed to be published, a separate list could be published "without home addresses being linked to the names".
JPOA's lawyers said that since there had been no reply from the electoral body to a previous letter, sent last Friday, it would commence legal proceedings as well as to seek "injunctive relief".
They have also demanded the election body stop allowing public inspections before the court has made a ruling.
The Post has contacted the Registration and Electoral Office for a response.
Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said the JPOA had only provided a "weak" argument to substantiate the claim.
"The current doxxing against officers and their families seems to come from online information, and no sign that it came from the electoral registry," Lam said.
"For people running in elections, the registry is an important list for us to mail promotional materials to the voters, whether they are officers or families. And there are already privacy laws in place to restrict the use of personal information in the registry."
Earlier this month, constitutional minister Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said only the correspondence address of District Council election hopefuls, instead of residential addresses, would be published in a gazette notice later this month.
This change in law would take effect immediately on October 30, via negative vetting legislation. Nip conceded it was expedited in response to public concern.
Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.