Lawmakers' suspended jail terms put Legco seats at risk
People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip and former party colleague Wong Yuk-man slam the 'unreasonable' sentencing and vow to appeal
Tony Cheung, Lai Ying-kit and Ernest Kao
Two radical lawmakers could lose their seat after being sentenced for five to six weeks in prison, suspended for at least a year, for their leading role in an unlawful assembly in July 2011.
People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip and former party colleague Wong Yuk-man, who resigned from the party on Monday, slammed the “unreasonable” sentencing and vowed to appeal.
Wong was sentenced to six weeks in jail, suspended for 14 months; and Chan was sentenced to five weeks in jail, suspended for a year.
They were also fined HK$4,800 each.
Dismissing the convicted duo’s claim that they were protesting against the draconian Public Order Ordinance, To emphasised that “unless a law was declared unconstitutional by the court, [no one can choose] to obey a law or not... No one is above the law either, otherwise the rule of law, as a core value of Hong Kong, would be groundless”.
Under the Basic Law Article 79, Legco can expel any lawmaker who is jailed for more than one month, if an impeachment motion is raised and supported by a two-thirds majority.
Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, explaining the cases of Wong and Chan, said such a motion could still be raised against them even though their jail sentences were suspended.
In March last year, another radical legislator, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung faced an impeachment after being given a two-month sentence for disrupting a public forum on scrapping Legco by-elections. Leung survived the impeachment as the bid failed to get the support of a two-thirds majority.
In August 1998, legislator Chim Pui-chung was jailed for three years after conspiring to forge share-transfer documents. He lost his seat a month later by a unanimous 45 votes.
Wong and Chan were core members of radical pan-democratic party People Power, which rallied scores of people on July 1, 2011, to continue protesting after an annual march organised by the Civil Human Rights Front.
The Eastern Court sentencing came just a day after Wong announced his abrupt resignation from the People Power, which he co-founded with Chan in 2011.
People Power supporters were seen rallying outside the court on Tuesday morning chanting "Support Yuk-man" while reporters swarmed Wong asking for comment on his resignation.