Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Pro-establishment groups in Hong Kong begin moves to have phone-snatch lawmaker Ted Hui sacked 

Party leaders begin censure motion process as unions condemn ‘very barbaric’ act that shocked Legco

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 April, 2018, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 April, 2018, 11:48pm

Pro-establishment party leaders joined forces on Friday in an attempt to have Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung kicked out of the Legislative Council, as civil service unions added their voices to the chorus of condemnation against him.

New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said she had written to Legco’s House Committee, asking for a debate on a motion to censure Hui, who earlier this week snatched a female civil servant’s phone and dashed into the men’s toilet.

The woman was trying to marshal lawmakers into a meeting to discuss a government bill, but Hui felt it was wrong for the government to send civil servants to monitor lawmakers’ whereabouts during meetings at Legco.

He later apologised profusely to the woman, and to the public, for his actions.

If the committee, made up of lawmakers known to be Ip’s allies, agrees to the request at its weekly meeting next Friday, the motion would be tabled at the full council by the end of next month. 

This would trigger an investigation, after which the motion would be put to a vote. If two-thirds of lawmakers support the motion, Hui would be booted out of Legco. 

There are 42 pro-establishment lawmakers, which is almost two-thirds of the council, meaning they would only need the backing of a handful of other legislators to have Hui removed.

“Even former Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said on Thursday that Hui should step down, or even quit the party,” Ip said. “I will lobby the pan-democrats to support the motion.”

Phone-snatching lawmaker Ted Hui suspended by Democratic Party and faces pressure to resign

However, no pan-democratic lawmaker has expressed support for Ip’s plan, and Claudia Mo Man-ching, of the six-strong Council Front, said her group would vote against any motion.

The Democratic Party said it would decide on its voting stance after the council’s internal inquiry. Other lawmakers either opposed the motion or questioned whether it should even be tabled before the police investigation into Hui has finished.

“We need to have all sorts of evidence, and then we will consider the case holistically so that we can have a just position and judgment,” Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said. 

Joshua Wong Chi-fung, secretary general of the party Demosisto, urged lawmakers in the pro-democracy camp to state their voting stances on the upcoming censure motion.

“Legco already has many lawmakers who were elected with zero votes, how can we let them remove a lawmaker who has the public’s mandate?” Wong asked. “Only the voters can remove [Hui].”

Only the voters can remove [Hui]
Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Demosisto

In comparison, a joint statement from the Hong Kong Civil Servants General Union and the Government Employees Association “strongly reprimanded” Hui, and urged the government to take action.

The unions also criticised Hui for being “very barbaric”, and said if anyone had any complaints about public policies, they should relay them to the relevant official, and not try to solve the issue with violence.

They also hoped the government would review the incident, and make sure measures were in place to protect civil servants working at Legco.

Ip’s announcement came after about 40 lawmakers watched the video footage of the incident. Some female lawmakers said they were unhappy, and were troubled by what they had seen.

Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said the footage would not be made public, at the civil servant’s request.

Ip said the censure motion would be co-signed by her political allies, including Business and Professionals Alliance (BPA) chairman Lo Wai-kwok, and Elizabeth Quat from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

BPA lawmaker Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun said she was saddened by the clip.

“The female officer tried very hard to protect her phone, and a lot of struggles were involved. I could absolutely not accept [such an act],” she said.

However, Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said removing Hui from office would be a “disproportionate” response to his phone-snatching act.

“The action itself is of course worth condemning, but Hui has issued a deep apology. I will respect the Democratic Party’s internal process and the police’s investigation,” he said.

The Post understands police have asked for legal advice from the Department of Justice on possible follow-up actions against Hui, and are waiting for its directions.