Legislative Council elections 2016

Disqualified localist lawmakers set to apply for court order preventing their removal from Legco

Youngspiration pair Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching intend to apply for a stay of execution of the court orders removing them from office

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 3:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 11:06am

The two pro-independence lawmakers disqualified over their oath-taking antics plan to file a court appeal today against their removal from Hong Kong’s legislature, even as their political rivals look to capture their vacated seats through by-elections.

Legal heavyweights said ­another localist, Lau Siu-lai, could become the third lawmaker to lose her seat over her swearing-in conduct after Youngspiration’s Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching were disqualified by the High Court on Tuesday.

The pair, who lost their seats for insulting China and advocating independence for Hong Kong in the Legislative Council on ­October 12, were expected to apply for an appeal and a stay of execution of the court orders yesterday, but their lawyers said they were not ready on time.

On Tuesday, the High Court ruled the two had rejected their oaths as they “did not truthfully and faithfully intend to commit themselves” to it as required by law.

This followed Beijing’s interpretation of the city’s mini-constitution last week that lawmakers must take their oaths sincerely, accurately and completely.

Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa denounced the radicals at a function yesterday.

“Several lawmakers-elect even publicly insulted China and advocated independence in the oath-taking ceremony,” Tung said. “They should be punished according to the law, and renounced by mainstream public opinion.”

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said the court ruling provided clear guidelines for the government and Legco to follow. Based on the standards set in the case of Baggio Leung and Yau, Albert Chen Hung-yee, a constitutional law expert and member of the National People’s Congress Basic Law Committee, said “some cases , such as Lau’s, could be constituted as rejections of oath-taking.”

Lau is among the 13 pan- democrats and localists who are now facing judicial reviews over the changes they made to their oaths. She paused for several seconds between each word of her oath and then wrote on her Facebook page that what she read was “unconnected individual words”.

Eric Cheung Tat-ming, principal lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, said Lau’s Facebook posts had made her case weaker. But Lau appeared unworried, and declined to say if she regretted her social media comments.

“Now it is not just one or two seats being affected, the issue concerns our judicial system ... we will continue to advocate democratic self-determination.”

Lau said despite the legal challenges, she has continued with her Legco work as usual, such as working on policy questions for officials and trying to find an office in her constituency. “I also hired several assistants,” she said.

Lau claimed HK$500,000 in advance for operating funds, entertainment and travel expenses, as well as IT and set-up costs on October 12. She also received a salary of HK$95,180 last month.

Baggio Leung and Yau will have to return the HK$929,573 each received in set-up costs and monthly salaries by last month.