A university website offering ordinary Hong Kongers a chance to vote for their next leader ahead of tomorrow’s election is under “systematic attack” from hackers, organisers said. Thousands of people who do not have the right to vote in the election are expressing their views through the unofficial poll organised by the University of Hong Kong. “The system has been very busy,” Robert Chung, director of the university’s respected Public Opinion Program, said yesterday. “We suspect it is under systematic attack as there are more than one million clicks on our system every second.” Mr Chung did not indicate who could be responsible for the disruption, but his team of pollsters has a history of aggravating mainland authorities with surveys indicating public opinion that is at odds with Beijing’s official line.
The vast majority of Hong Kong’s seven million residents have no right to determine who will replace chief executive Donald Tsang, whose term expires in June, as the financial centre’s next leader. The vote is restricted to a 1200-member committee packed with pro-Beijing elites, who will cast their ballots tomorrow.
The leading candidates are Henry Tang, the heir to a textile fortune and a former chief secretary, and Leung Chun-ying, a policeman’s son turned self-made property consultant. Both are regarded as pro-Beijing establishment figures. The university’s so-called civil referendum began at midnight on Thursday local time and was scheduled to end last night, with ballots cast through the website, via mobile phones or at 15 “polling stations”.