Like many other Hongkongers, 58-year-old Ah Sun is a registered voter – only the address he uses for the enrolment is a playground in Sham Shui Po, where he has lived for nine years. Ah Sun is one of the three voters who cited public space in Sham Shui Po – Shun Ning Road Playground, Tung Chau Street Park and Lei Cheng Uk Playground – as their residential addresses, according to a check of the electoral roll performed by South China Morning Post. Two of the voters were not to be found in their listed residences on Monday evening, but Ah Sun was at the playground. He asked not to be referred to by his full name, nor to have the playground where he lives identified.
“Homeless people should enjoy the same voting right as others as we are also Hongkongers,” Ah Sun said, as he spent yet another night on the grandstand watching people playing soccer.
Ah Sun first used the playground as his residential address when he registered to vote in 2013, encouraged by social workers. He had been using the office of the Society for Community Organisation as his correspondence address when dealing with other applications or banking. “Using this address is closer to reality. After all, I’m in fact living here,” he said of the playground.
Ah Sun’s situation highlights a dilemma: how to balance homeless people’s right to vote while not opening a loophole for exploitation in voter registration.