Long Hair declares himself clever for exploiting the rules

After losing his court battle, the activist exploits a grey area to make his point

Veteran protester 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung is calling himself clever after exploiting grey areas in the rules to make additional declarations during his swearing-in as a legislator.

Mr Leung shouted the declarations - allegiance to the Chinese people and upholding principles of democracy and freedom - before and after taking the official oath, then left the written document unsigned.

He had earlier lost a court battle to add his own words to the oath.

'I have just been clever - you need to be clever to defeat your opponents,' Mr Leung said.

A spokesman for the Legco secretariat said secretary-general Ricky Fung Choi-cheung, who had presided over Mr Leung's swearing-in, was satisfied that the legislator had 'sworn his oath in accordance to the requirements' of the law.

Mr Fung said adding signatures was only a convention and not required by law.

Newly elected Legco president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said the law did not prevent people speaking before and after taking an oath. 'He has, after all, read his oath,' she said.

Two hours before Mr Leung appeared in Legco, a High Court judge threw out his application for a judicial review to declare his own version of the oath legal.

Mr Justice Michael Hartmann ruled that Mr Leung's proposed oath was unlawful and would contravene Article 104 of the Basic Law, which states that legislators must swear to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR upon taking office.

'The demand of the ordinance, in my view, is unambiguous ... It is not any oath that may be penned by a legislative councillor ... The section states specifically that the oath to be taken is the Legislative Council Oath.'

The judge said the oath was in no way discriminatory or oppressive, as argued by Mr Leung, as uniformity was needed in such oaths to set common standards and expectations for legislators.

The Legco secretariat has applied to the court for Mr Leung to pay its legal costs on which Mr Justice Hartmann has reserved judgment.

Mr Leung said it was shameful for the secretariat to apply for costs and told the judge he could only pay $1.

'They will force me to file for bankruptcy because I am only a working-class person,' he said.