Pair launch legal bids to unseat C.Y. Leung over 'lies'
Austin Chiu and Joyce Ng
Lawmaker 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung and Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan are making separate legal bids to unseat Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, accusing him of lying about illegal structures at his home.
Leung filed his application for a judicial review yesterday, while fellow lawmaker Ho, who finished third in the March election, will make a similar application and lodge an election petition - a formal challenge to the result of the poll - today.
C. Y. Leung, who took office on Sunday, has seen his integrity questioned since reports emerged last month that he had six illegal structures at his luxury home on The Peak.
Speaking outside the High Court yesterday, after turning up too late to file his papers, Ho said: 'Although the election was not a democratic one, it was a lawful one. I do not accept that Mr Leung won the election by such an unfair, illegal and disgraceful way,' he said. Leung had failed to answer 12 questions sent by his lawyer last week, Ho said.
Both Ho and Leung Kwok-hung based their applications for judicial reviews on the same grounds.
Citing section 26 of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance, they say C.Y. Leung engaged in 'illegal conduct' by making false and misleading statements, directly or implicitly, before and during the campaign and failing to correct them to create the impression that he was trustworthy. Secondly, they point to Article 47 of the Basic Law, which says the city's leader 'must be a person of integrity'. They ask the court to declare that Leung is not such a person, and therefore cannot hold the office.
Ho is also seeking an injunction preventing the chief executive from carrying out his role.
Supporting their claims, they say C. Y. Leung, a chartered surveyor, made three false statements about illegal structures. The first was in May last year, when he said two lawyers and an architect had confirmed his houses were clear of infringements. The remarks were reported in three newspapers the next day.
The lawmakers said Leung allowed the false information to spread and did nothing to clarify or correct it after he announced his decision to stand for chief executive in November.
The second statement was made in a televised debate in March, where Leung attacked rival Henry Tang Ying-yen's credibility after the discovery of an illegal 'underground palace' beneath the Kowloon Tong home owned by Tang's wife. His remarks falsely implied that he, unlike Tang, did not own any illegal structures. The basement row and attacks helped derail Tang's campaign.
The third false statement referred to his written reply to Ming Pao Daily last month, in which Leung said an illegal wooden trellis had existed before he bought the house, while aerial photographs showed there was no such trellis before he purchased the home in 2000.
Law professor Eric Cheung Tat-ming, of the University of Hong Kong, said Ho would struggle to persuade a court to hear the petition, as it had not been filed before the deadline of seven days after an election.
The two pan-democratic politicians would also struggle to persuade a court to grant leave for a judicial review, Cheung said, as such reviews could only be used to scrutinise an executive decision.