Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Disqualified Hong Kong lawmakers will have to return huge cash advances and salaries

Youngspiration duo had already received about HK$1 million each by the end of October

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 8:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 10:07am

The two Hong Kong localist lawmakers disqualified for breaching their oaths will be told to return the hefty sums they have received in salaries and expenses since being elected in September.

By the end of October the Youngspiration duo, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, had already received about HK$1 million each.

The calculations would be made by the Legislative Council’s office, Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said on Tuesday. The pair would be allowed to enter the Legco complex in the next few days to pack their belongings – then they would be banned from the premises, he said.

Hong Kong court rules localist lawmakers must vacate Legco seats

“The secretariat will go through the verdict and follow up on Leung and Yau … We need to calculate the amount of money because while they lost their seat on October 12, their term had already started on October 1,” Leung said.

“They are also not allowed to enter their office on the 10th floor … They cannot enter Legco as lawmakers, they can only do so as people seeking to pack their belongings, and we will give them a few days to do so.”

The pair were advanced HK$834,393 in operating funds, entertainment and travel expenses, as well as IT and set-up costs. Including their monthly salaries of HK$95,180 payable since October 1, they had each received HK$929,573 by the end of last month.

Hong Kong’s High Court ruled earlier in the day that Leung and Yau had lost their seats when they pledged allegiance to a “Hong Kong nation” and used derogatory language to insult China while taking their Legco oaths.

Legco adjourned amid chaos as Hong Kong localists try to retake oaths and crash relocated meeting

In light of the court’s judgment – which came just over a week after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in Beijing interpreted Hong Kong’s mini-constitution to effectively disqualify the pair – the focus now is on the fate of Lau Siu-lai.

The localist lawmaker paused six to eight seconds between each word when she took her oath on October 12. She took it again properly later, but pro-Beijing activists have filed applications for judicial reviews, challenging the legality of her oath and those of a number of other pan-democrats and localists.

Asked if it was legal for him to have validated Lau’s oath last month, Andrew Leung replied: “At that time, my decision was based on the legal advice I received and Legco’s past practice. Now the verdict has clarified the oaths and declarations ordinance, my power, as well as the Basic Law’s article 104.

“But there are court cases and judicial reviews regarding [Lau’s oath] – let’s wait for the outcome of these cases.”