Hong Kong rail bill set to pass by taking the Hui line

As opposition lawmaker faces legal action over phone grab, bills committee chairwoman Regina Ip is clearing the way for joint checkpoint go-ahead  

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 May, 2018, 2:55am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 May, 2018, 10:23am

Depending on your politics, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee is either a villain or a hero for pushing a bill for a joint checkpoint at the upcoming cross-border express rail link ever closer to being passed into law.

The Legislative Council’s bills committee chairwoman managed to end a protracted debate by opposition members this week by ejecting no less than four of them from the Legislative Council chamber.

Joint checkpoint plan on track to become law for cross-border rail

That leaves just one more Legco meeting, expected to be held at the end of this month, before the bill is passed. 

The latest show of defiance by the opposition was just for show. They had already lost the battle months ago when they failed to convince the public that the joint customs and immigration enforcement was both unconstitutional and impractical.

And when crunch time came, Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung helped divert public attention by senselessly snatching a mobile phone from a government officer monitoring the comings and goings of lawmakers to count potential votes.

Not only did he get himself arrested and is now facing a police investigation, he grabbed all the headlines so many people weren’t even paying attention to the joint checkpoint bill.

While playing the disciplinarian on the bills committee, Ip has separately spearheaded a motion to impeach Hui. She has been accused of flip-flopping, though: first she wanted to press ahead with the motion against Hui, then she warned it could interfere with the ongoing judicial process now that he may face criminal charges.

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Among those lawmakers reportedly upset by her flip-flopping were Wong Kwok-kin of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, Felix Chung Kwok-pan of the Liberal Party, and Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong.

The latest from Ip is that she will push ahead with the motion against Hui because any such proceedings would not affect police or judicial process as they would be kept confidential.

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Is Ip playing a brilliant game or just being a useful idiot? Doesn’t matter. The point is that she has managed to turn Hui’s silly transgression into the main show, making the joint checkpoint bill almost like a sideshow.

The opposition is all but lost. Not only will the joint checkpoint bill pass, but also the public seems more than ready to accept it.