Attack ads aimed at Richmond councillor warn of 'declining morals'

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Controversial Chinese-language attack ads renew focus on targeted political campaigning

Ads running in two Chinese language newspapers are taking aim at Richmond city councillor Chak Au, who is running for the NDP in Richmond South Centre in the May 9 provincial election.

One ad claims the NDP has caused "declining morals in the Downtown Eastside," and then asks, "are you planning to make Richmond into another DTES?"

The other ad says, "Councillor Chak Au, you used to lead Richmond residents to oppose drug injection sites, oppose sex education for young kids, oppose gender neutral bathrooms and same sex marriage."

"Now you switch to the NDP, you should know that the NDP advocates for drug injection sites, gender neutral bathrooms, encourages sex education for young children and supports same sex marriage.

"How do you face your former supporters in Richmond?"

The ads have run in both the Ming Pao and Sing Tao newspapers.

Calls to the ad sponsor — a group called Richmond Community Concerns — were not answered.

Calls made to Chak Au were not returned.

According to Elections BC spokesman Andrew Watson, Richmond Community Concerns is not registered with Elections BC — but it doesn't have to be at this time. 

"The writ period goes from April 11 to voting day, that's when advertising sponsors have to be registered with Elections BC," he said.

"Even during the campaign the Elections Act doesn't have any provision around content. We do not vet ad content."

Au is running against 26-year Liberal MLA Linda Reid in Richmond South. 

With files from Anita Bathe