Hong Kong’s disqualified localist pair vow to appeal and seek injunction to stop their Legco seats being declared vacant
Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching say court battle could cost them up to HK$5 million but would be worth it to “defend Hong Kong’s civilised systems”
The two elected localists disqualified by a Hong Kong court over the way they took their oaths of office last month have vowed to appeal against the decision and seek an injunction to stop the government declaring their seats empty.
The pro-independence pair, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, from the group Youngspiration, said the legal battle could cost them up to HK$5 million, but they would try to raise the money through crowd-funding among supporters. They said their efforts would be worth it as they were “defending Hong Kong’s civilised systems”.
According to the High Court ruling handed down on Tuesday, Leung and Yau’s directly-elected seats in the Legislative Council were effectively vacated on October 12 when the pair swore allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation” instead of to Hong Kong as part of China.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government was studying the judgment before deciding on follow-up action, which would depend on whether Baggio Leung and Yau appealed.
“We are studying what follow-up action to take. Everything needs to be done in accordance with the law, including whether the two of them, or even other people, have satisfied the swearing-in requirements under Basic Law Article 104,” the chief executive said.
It was understood the government would officially announce within three weeks that the seats were vacant, and by-elections would be held within six months.
But Baggio Leung said his legal team would aim at applying for an appeal and an injunction by Wednesday to stop that happening.
“We wanted to stop the government officially vacating our seats and preparing for a by-election ... If our seats are vacated, our appeal will become academic, so an injunction is necessary,” he said.
Despite their disqualification, legal experts suggested the Youngspiration pair should still be allowed to contest any coming by-election, in which the pan-democratic and pro-establishment camps in the legislature will be vying for the two seats.
But Baggio Leung dropped a strong hint on Tuesday that Youngspiration would not be fielding anyone in the race.
“We don’t think the by-election would be legal or just, so why take part in it when you know that its results could be easily overturned at any time?” he said.
He also warned of more protests in the future, as the localist camp would not give up on their political ideas.
“I want to tell my supporters that this is just the beginning, not the end. When our enemies declare war on us, we can only fight back with all we have,” he said. “Our enemies are the Beijing and Hong Kong governments, and those who betrayed our systems.”
Yau said she had written to the British government complaining about Beijing’s recent intervention in interpreting the Basic Law to determine what constitutes an acceptable oath.
“Because Britain and China signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration in the early 1980s, now when China is destroying Hong Kong’s core values the other side should be concerned,” she said.