Lau Siu-lai says Hong Kong government’s case against her ‘political persecution’
Pro-democracy legislator faces fresh legal battle over lengthy pauses during Legco oath
Lawmaker Lau Siu-lai on Wednesday denounced the government’s planned legal attempt to disqualify her as “political persecution”.
Lau spoke alongside more than 20 pro-democracy lawmakers an hour after the Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s ruling to disqualify pro-independence duo Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching.
The pair had pledged allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation” and insulted China at the Legislative Council’s swearing-in on October 12.
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice said it would launch a case against Lau, who paused several seconds between every word in her oath, and wrote later on Facebook that she had meant to render the pledge meaningless.
On Wednesday morning, Lau declined to say if she regretted making the Facebook post.
“This is not about a seat any more,” she said. “I urge all Hongkongers to stand in solidarity with the democratic camp because if I am disqualified, the democratic camp will lose its veto power in the geographical constituency.”
Legco motions, such as those seeking to amend the legislature’s rule book, can only pass with majority support in both the 35-strong functional group, and the 35-strong geographical group.
The pro-establishment camp dominates the former, while the democratic camp has a slim majority of 17-16 in the latter after Leung and Yau’s disqualifications.
“My oath had been accepted … and I have started my work on improving elderly care, hawkers’ policy, and livelihood issues,” Lau said.
“Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was simply afraid of us democrats monitoring power … but does he think that he will face no more opposition after eliminating me?”
Watch: Lau Siu-lai takes the oath in slow-motion
The camp’s convenor and Democratic Party veteran James To Kun-sun said Leung Chun-ying wanted to negate the Legco elections’ results in September.
“Lau took her oath twice and both were validated,” To said.
“The government’s action would create huge uncertainty in lawmakers’ work in the future.”
But pro-establishment lawmaker Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan disagreed. He said: “The court’s judgment says it has full jurisdiction on deciding whether an oath is valid, and the approval in Legco can only be taken as evidence which is not binding on the court.”
Cheung is a vice-chairman of the Beijing-loyal Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.