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Legislative Council oath-taking saga

Disqualified Hong Kong lawmakers who may have to return HK$11m say Legco president should pay

Four ousted for improper oath-taking say president of legislature should be held responsible as he was ruled to be wrong in validating their pledges

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 3:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 10:44pm

The four Hong Kong legislators ousted for improper oath-taking have said that the president of the city’s legislature should be the one to repay the nearly HK$11 million in salary and allowances they may have to return, as he was ruled to be in error when he validated their pledges.

Pan-democratic lawmakers Nathan Law Kwun-chung, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim were stripped of their seats on July 14 by the High Court for failing to take their members’ oaths properly last October.

Their response came after Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen on Friday said legal cases abroad suggested the legislature should make claims to get back the pay and allowances given to the four, an amount adding up to about HK$11 million.

But he added that the Legco Commission was seeking outside legal advice and would make a legally sound decision.

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

At a press conference on Wednesday, “Long Hair” Leung said: “According to the court’s ruling, [Andrew] Leung Kwan-yuen was wrong in confirming that our oaths were valid – that’s why we lost our seats … If the commission is making any claim, it should first claim it from the president.”

On October 12, Legco secretary-general Kenneth Chen Wei-on, who had handled the oath-taking ceremony before Andrew Leung was elected president, declared that Yiu’s oath was invalid.

He did not challenge those by the other three opposition lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung, Lau and Law.

Later that month, Andrew Leung took over the reins and accepted the oaths taken by Yiu and Lau, who had asked to retake her oath.

On Wednesday, Lau said: “Andrew Leung and Chen should bear all the responsibility, not us.”

Law did not attend the press conference on Wednesday, but he told the Post that he agreed with the other three ousted lawmakers’ point of view.

Hong Kong Legco chief defends clawing back ousted members’ cash

Leung Kwok-hung also questioned if Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung were turning a blind eye to “the political suppression” faced by the four.

“It’s simply impossible for us to pay [the amount],” the veteran politician said, adding that the four would be barred from joining the by-elections if they go bankrupt.

A Legco secretariat spokeswoman declined to say if Chen or Leung would consider the lawmakers’ comments, saying only that advice from a senior counsel was expected within six to eight weeks.