Relations between the administration and the legislature have reached a "critical point", a top government adviser said, after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's question-and-answer session was abandoned as radical lawmakers hurled insults - and buns - his way.
Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing took the unprecedented decision to halt the session five minutes before it was due to end after expelling several radicals who hit out at Leung for his criticism of their attempt to filibuster the budget.
Watch: Legislator throws bun at CY Leung after his warning against Occupy Central
As pro-establishment lawmakers called for tighter Legco rules and Leung demanded "serious" action, pan-democrats said the chief executive should show more respect for the legislature.
The chaos began when Leung spent half of his nine-minute opening speech condemning the filibuster, launched to demand a universal pension and cash handouts. Independent pan-democrat Wong Yuk-man accused Leung of "challenging Legco". He was ordered to leave the chamber immediately.
The session was disrupted again about an hour later as Leung responded to a question on whether he was fuelling divisions by asking the public to condemn filibustering.
"Society has been deeply disgusted by the filibustering, which hurts the city's competitiveness," Leung replied. In response, People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip shouted: "Hongkongers have been deeply disgusted by you, too." He then hurled a bun at Leung, which was intercepted by a security guard.
Chan's party colleague Raymond Chan Chi-chuen shouted for Leung to resign, while the League of Social Democrats' "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung stood up with a bun in his hand.
Tsang then ordered the trio to leave and suspended the meeting for about 15 minutes. The two Chans were escorted out by security guards, but Leung Kwok-hung refused to leave.
When Tsang resumed the meeting, Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan criticised him for "abusing" his power. Tsang responded that the meeting "can no longer go on" and ended it.
Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong said later that he was "disheartened" that "the level of tension between the executive [branch] and the legislature has probably reached a critical point".
However, Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said Leung should do his part, instead of "paying lip service to improving the relationship" with Legco and the executive branch. "The chief executive came with the objective of picking a fight," Leong said. "It was really his attitude that provoked many of us."
A spokesman for the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office told Xinhua yesterday that officials were aware of the incident in Legco. "We believe that the chief executive and officials … should be respected for fulfilling their role in the legislature, and Legco's normal order should be safeguarded effectively," he said. "We are against any behaviour that abuses the rules of procedure … and hurts Hong Kong's public interest."
Tsang later said Legco should explore the possibility of tightening its rules to bar lawmakers who the president had strong reasons to believe would violate its rules from attending a meeting.
In a rare media briefing after the meeting, a defiant Leung Chun-ying criticised "lawmakers throwing objects at officials" for "ruining the executive-legislative relationship".