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Legislative Council oath-taking saga

Disqualified Hong Kong lawmakers move out of their offices but vow to return

The government can bar us but it can’t bar voters in the by-elections, says a defiant ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 July, 2017, 8:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 July, 2017, 5:47am

The four lawmakers disqualified two weeks ago for their oath-taking antics bid farewell to the Legislative Council on Friday but vowed they would be back.

Flanked by other pan-democrats and supporters, the four marched out of the building where they had worked for the past nine months, holding a banner that read “We will keep fighting”.

“We will be back. We will prevail. Long live Hong Kong people. Long Live universal suffrage,” they chanted under the lead of “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung.

Leung – who was unseated by the High Court along with Lau Siu-lai, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Edward Yiu Chung-yim on July 14 for failing to take their oaths solemnly in October – had been told by the Legco Secretariat to move out by Friday.

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Leung said the government had disqualified them but it could not disqualify voters in the by-elections to replace them and two localist lawmakers barred last year.

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Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching were disqualified in November for insulting Beijing while taking their oaths.

The two rulings have curtailed the bargaining power of the pro-democracy bloc in the legislature as they have lost their limited veto power to block motions and amendments to bills tabled by their pro-establishment rivals.

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Leung Kwok-hung stressed that the pan-democrats were still united and even if the four of them were not allowed to run in the by-elections, the camp would prevail.

It remains uncertain if the four can stand again. Returning officers have the power to rule if election contenders are sincere in signing an extra form introduced last year declaring Hong Kong to be an inalienable part of China and stating their intention to uphold the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution.

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Law, the young student leader of Demosisto, said: “Although we lose our seats, we win more support from the people … We will continue to fight with Hong Kong people, stand in the frontline of democracy movements and monitor the government.”

Leung Kwok-hung and Yiu also said they would return to Legco as consultants for other pan-democratic lawmakers – Leung in Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung’s office. Yiu said he had not made up his mind.

The four must also decide whether to file a court appeal over their disqualifications, but they have hinted that “Long Hair”, who has applied for legal aid, might be the only one to take this route while the rest focused on running in the by-elections.

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They face possible claims by Legco for the return of up to HK$11 million in salary and allowances, on top of huge legal fees. Legco President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said on Friday the Legco Commission may seek outside legal advice on the matter and a meeting would be scheduled by the end of next month at the earliest.