The Legislative Council will launch an inquiry into whether localist lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai should be disqualified for turning his pro-establishment colleagues’ national flags upside down in the chamber in October. On Wednesday, pro-establishment lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun tabled a motion to censure Cheng for the localist’s antics. Tse’s motion was the latest in a series of actions taken by the Beijing-loyalist camp to try to unseat more pro-democracy legislators after pro-independence duo Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching were disqualified by the High Court for insulting China during their swearing-in at Legco on October 12. Hong Kong court ruling on Legco oath saga could slow other legal challenges The government currently has court challenges against pro-democracy legislators Lau Siu-lai, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and Edward Yiu Chung-yim over their oaths . In taking office, all lawmakers must pledge allegiance to Hong Kong as part of China, and Tse said Cheng, of localist group Civic Passion, had misbehaved and violated his oath when he upended the small national flags that pro-establishment lawmakers had displayed at their seats on October 19, after the bloc staged a walkout to prevent Leung and Yau from retaking their oaths. “Cheng did it deliberately. Was he just being mischievous, or was he showing his disdain for our country, the national flag, and concepts such as national unity and territorial integrity?” Tse asked. Was he just being mischievous, or was he showing his disdain for our country? Paul Tse Wai-chun, lawmaker, on Cheng According to Legco rules, the chamber must set up an inquiry to look into the lawmaker in question after a censure motion is tabled. After the probe is concluded, the lawmaker will be disqualified if the motion is approved with two-thirds majority support in the council. Immediately after Tse tabled his motion, People Power’s Raymond Chan Chi-chuen tabled his own motion seeking to stop the inquiry. “Rather than spending time on a probe and creating quarrels, we should let Legco return to its normal path and debate on policy issues,” Chan said. Chan’s motion was endorsed by the Democratic Party and Civic Party. Democrat Andrew Wan Siu-kin, noting Tse’s opposition to a censure motion in 2009, said of the pro-establishment lawmaker’s thinking at the time: “He had said Legco should only look into matters of significant public interest, not lawmaker’s personal ethics.” Beijing interpretation on Legislative Council oath taking rattles Hong Kong Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu also questioned Tse’s motion. “I disagree with Cheng’s childish act, but do we need to punish him like that?” he asked. “Such a probe would do nothing good for Legco.” But Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said an investigation was necessary. “I noted that on other occasions Cheng mentioned the need to rewrite the city’s constitution and build an autonomous Hong Kong,” she said. “These could be contraventions of the Basic Law ’s provision on oath-taking.” Explained: walkouts and oath-taking controversy at start of Legco term Executive councillor Martin Liao Cheung-kong, who is also convenor of the pro-establishment camp, argued it was a matter of fact that Cheng had“misbehaved”. “The matter we have to consider is simply whether such defamation of the country is in line with his Legco oath,” he said. According to the rule of split voting, a lawmaker’s motion can only be approved if it receives majority support in both the geographical and functional constituencies. Chan’s motion garnered majority backing in the former, but was voted down by pro-establishment lawmakers who dominate the latter.