Disqualified Hong Kong pro-independence lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung charged with unlawful assembly
Youngspiration duo arrested over chaos at Legislative Council meeting in November
Two Hong Kong independence advocates who were disqualified as lawmakers last year were on Wednesday arrested and charged for trying to force their way into a meeting of the city’s legislature in November.
Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who lost their Legislative Council seats for distorting their oath of office during their swearing-in ceremony, were charged with unlawful assembly and attempted forced entry.
They are expected to appear at Eastern Court on Friday, according to the pair, who spoke to the media outside Central Police Station after being released on bail of HK$3,000 each.
Leung said the charges related to the chaos outside a Legco conference room on November 2, when they tried to storm a meeting after being barred from entering the chamber. They and their assistants had scuffled with security guards.
The pair would not go into details of the case, but Leung said it was unlikely they would plead guilty on Friday, as they were being “unreasonably” prosecuted for trying to attend a meeting as newly elected lawmakers.
However, a police source said: “When three or more persons assemble together and conduct themselves in a disorderly manner, causing fears that they will commit a breach of peace, it’s an unlawful assembly regardless of their social status.”
Leung said at least three of their former assistants were also arrested.
Leung and Yau were picked up from their homes at about 7am, according to a Facebook post by Yau at about 10am.
The localist pair made headline news around the world when they first took their oaths at the inaugural meeting of the new Legco on October 12 last year. They used pro-independence slogans and language deemed insulting to China, earning themselves a ban from retaking their oaths at subsequent meetings.
Within a week, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying took them to court, and they were disqualified on November 15. The case also prompted an interpretation by the national legislature to make such oath-taking offences punishable by disqualification.
The new case against them stems from November 2, when the duo forced their way into the Legco chamber and used their own microphones to read out their oaths a second time, as security guards tried to stop them.
Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen rejected their oaths, adjourned the meeting and moved to a smaller conference room to continue.
The charges laid on Wednesday relate to what happened after that, when Leung and Yau headed to the smaller room.
The group they belong to, Youngspiration, issued a statement on Wednesday saying it was prepared for “more arrests and legal challenges” but would fight back.