Legislative Council oath-taking saga

Hong Kong justice department asks Legco officers to testify against disqualified radicals

Case relates to Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who are accused of trying to storm into a meeting room in Legco building

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 June, 2017, 7:53pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 June, 2017, 10:07pm

The Department of Justice has asked the Legislative Council to allow eight of its officers to testify in a court case at which two disqualified anti-China lawmakers are accused of attempting to storm a meeting room inside the Legco building.

Seven security officers witnessed the chaos on November 2, while a technology officer provided surveillance footage of the events, according to papers issued by the Legco Secretariat to lawmakers on Monday.

The item will be placed on the agenda of the Legco meeting on June 14.

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The papers said the justice department had submitted a request for special leave of the council for the eight officers to give evidence in the criminal proceedings.

Under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance, no Legco officer can give evidence elsewhere without the special leave of the council.

And according to Legco’s rules of procedure, unless a lawmaker moves a motion to refuse the leave and that motion is passed, the council shall be deemed to have ordered that such leave be granted.

But given the slow progress of meetings these days it is not certain there will be time to handle the item on the agenda.

The case, set for a pre-trial hearing on July 14, involves two disqualified pro-independence lawmakers-elect from the Youngspiration party, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, and their three assistants – Yeung Lai-hong, Chung Suet-ying and Cheung Tsz-lung.

Leung and Yau were disqualified by the Court of First Instance after the government filed a legal bid over their anti-Beijing antics during their Legco swearing-in ceremony in October.

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They are charged with one joint count of unlawful assembly over the storming a month later, which took place outside Conference Room 1 in the Legco chamber, and one joint count of forcible entry. They can only be found guilty of one of the counts, as the second charge is an alternative to the first.

The Youngspiration duo had wanted to enter the chamber to try take the Legco oath again but were told to leave by the president, Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, who later suspended the meeting. It was subsequently resumed elsewhere.

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Leung and Yau, and their assistants, allegedly attempted to enter the conference room in a violent manner.

All five pleaded not guilty at a hearing on May 26.