Hong Kong lawmaker Lau Siu-lai wins one legal challenge, but faces yet another
Self-determination advocate challenged again over swearing-in
Localist lawmaker Lau Siu-lai yesterday emerged unscathed from a legal challenge to unseat her, only to end the day saddled with another lawsuit that named Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as an interested party.
After the High Court threw out the first legal bid – citing application delays – in the morning, it granted leave to a student to launch a judicial review of Lau’s controversial conduct at her swearing-in last month.
“I will apply for legal aid for my case on Monday,” the student, Mok Ka-kit, said.
The court notice served to Mok names the chief executive as an interested party, which means the city’s leader may be represented in court.
The student has asked the court to disqualify Lau, seeking a judicial review of Legislative Council secretary general Kenneth Chen Wei-on validating her oath on October 12 and of Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen giving her a second chance to swear on October 18.
Lau raised eyebrows during her first swearing-in by taking long pauses between words. She wrote later on Facebook that she had meant to render it meaningless. But the president accepted her second oath.
Lau, a lecturer and an advocate for Hong Kong self-determination, is among 13 pan-democratic and localist lawmakers being sued by citizens for adding words or using props when taking oaths last month.
Their lawsuits follow the government’s legal action against newly elected pro-independence legislators Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, whom the High Court disqualified on Tuesday.
The court ruled the pair had “declined” to take their oaths as they pronounced “China” in a way deemed derogatory to the country.
In the duo’s case, the government sued the Legco president as well. Andrew Leung said yesterday he would not join the appeal launched by the pair.
The High Court rejected the election petition filed by Lau’s defeated opponent for a Legco seat, Kwan San-wai, in the morning.
Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung said at the beginning of the hearing that Kwan’s side was late on two matters: serving a notice to the other parties and paying security for costs.
Kwan had offered to pay the maximum amount of HK$20,000, but his lawyer explained that his client had been travelling in South Korea and so was unable to deposit the money into the solicitors’ bank account. The judge did not accept that explanation.
He dismissed the application, citing the delays, and granted costs to Lau and the second respondent, the returning officer of Lau’s constituency.
After the hearing, Lau said her challenger had “abused” the legal process by suing her based on what she did after she was elected. She said the court’s decision was “fair”.
Separately, the same court also dealt with another election petition lodged by independence advocate Andy Chan Ho-tin, who was barred from running in the September elections.
Azan Marwah, for Chan, sought an adjournment of the case because his client was appealing against a decision to deny him legal aid.
The Hong Kong National Party convenor asked the High Court to determine if the winners in the New Territories West constituency had been duly elected, and to declare their poll victories void if they had not.
The court set the hearing for May 9 next year, after the legal aid appeal hearing.