Democratic Party legislator James To Kun-sun has been suspended as deputy convenor of the party caucus in the legislature for six months over a blunder involving the misuse of public funds.
The punishment was longer than expected, as the party's disciplinary committee was understood to have recommended that he be suspended for three months only.
The party's central committee said last night the disciplinary action took effect on Monday.
Mr To could not be reached for comment last night.
The party said the disciplinary action was a serious punishment though Mr To would continue to exercise his rights and duties as a legislator.
When contesting the 2004 Legco election, Mr To was accused of using public money to rent an office in Shamshuipo at above market rates from a company in which he was a director. He had failed to declare his directorship when he claimed back the rent from his Legco allowance four years earlier.
Mr To has apologised to the public and has said it was an oversight. His colleagues, Stanley Ng Wing-fai, Chan Ka-wai and Fung Wai-kwong were all reprimanded over the blunder.