Leaked paper poses question of collusion for DAB and government

Are party's lawmakers getting points to put to officials from the government itself?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 4:05am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 8:21am

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong is known for its enthusiastic support for the government - but it has inadvertently revealed even deeper ties; the administration is apparently giving its lawmakers questions to put to officials.

The link was exposed in a document picked up by rival lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung after it was left behind by the DAB's Leung Che-cheung.

Under the heading "follow-up questions supplied by the Security Bureau", the document sets out talking points for lawmakers at a security panel hearing yesterday on the muchmaligned system for assessing claims for refugee status.

Leung Che-cheung admitted that the document, from the DAB's research division, was genuine and that the DAB had "touched base" with the administration "to let officials prepare for our questions".

He accused his rival of having "unauthorised access" to the paper, which advises lawmakers to say: "I think the system is highly fair - but only to the claimants. It is highly unfair to taxpayers."

They are told to ask: "A claimant should apply for assistance once they arrive in Hong Kong. But information showed they applied after an average of 14 months … why [did] they not do it as soon as they arrived?"

A similar question was asked by the DAB's Elizabeth Quat.

Leung Kwok-hung blasted the collusion between the government and its "friendly party".

"It is very inappropriate for the government to make up opinions," Leung said.

The Immigration Department was forced by a court ruling last year to take over the screening of refugee claims from the UN but has been criticised for a lack of consultation in creating of a new system, to process both refugee and torture claims.

Leung Che-cheung said he had complained to the panel chairman about the acquisition of the paper by "Long Hair". He said the questions came from the party, not the government. He said members had "touched base" with officials and added: "This is common practice for our members in other Legco panels."

Security minister Lai Tung-kwok said officials would answer queries but "the way of asking a question depends on the individual lawmakers' decision".