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Legislative Council elections 2016

Barred Legco aspirant’s legal challenge against poll dismissal set to heard in May

Andy Chan Ho-tin was prevented from running Septembers elections over his localist views

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 6:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 6:20pm

The first bid to challenge the rejection of pro-independence aspirants in the September Legislative Council elections is scheduled to be heard by the High Court in May next year after the claimant told a judge he needed more time to secure funds and legal representation.

Andy Chan Ho-tin, the first candidate to be disqualified from the polls over his separatist stance who was also the first to launch an election petition against the government, had been refused legal aid, the court heard on Friday.

Barrister Azan Marwah, for Chan, said his client would risk going bankrupt if he was denied legal assistance.

Hong Kong National Party convenor disqualified from running in Legislative Council polls

Chan sought an adjournment of the case until the result of his legal aid appeal, which would be heard separately in January next year was available, the court heard.

The Hong Kong National Party convenor said he also needed to wait for another counsel who would represent him.

The activist 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 as void if they had not.

Chan, 25, is the first to pursue such a case against the Electoral Affairs Commission within the stipulated two-month period.

On July 30, he became the first of six candidates to be barred from running after the returning officer asserted that his “claim, support and promotion of the independence of Hong Kong are mutually exclusive with the legislative intent” and the Basic Law.

The localist candidate had refused to sign a newly introduced additional declaration form, which reinforced acknowledgement that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China, and ignored the returning officer’s ­request for more information.

On Friday, lawyers representing the government and one of the elected candidates in the New Territories West constituency argued in the court that there should not be unjustified delay.

Barrister Abraham Chan, for the government, contended that a hearing should be held as soon as possible unless it would lead to “significant prejudice”.

Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung stated the hearing would be held on May 9 next year.

Chan did not reveal why his application for legal aid was rejected.

“I don’t have any [funding] plans other than getting legal aid,” he said outside court.

When reporters asked him whether he would continue to pursue his election claim without a lawyer’s help, he did not give a direct answer.

“No matter what happens, I will still stand there,” he said.