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Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Democratic Party wants to hear more evidence before deciding fate of phone-snatching lawmaker Ted Hui

Party waits to hear what Ted Hui said to civil servant – and her testimony – before deciding whether he should lose his seat in Legco over incident

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 10:32pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 11:12pm

The Democratic Party will wait to hear testimony from a civil servant before it decides whether its lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung should lose his seat in the Legislative Council over a phone-snatching incident, the party’s chairman said on Sunday.

The opposition party is reeling from the scandal with Hui supporters accusing the party of turning its back on the legislator after it suspended him on Thursday while the establishment camp has said the party was guilty of a cover up.

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“According to the evidence we have right now, the party believes it is disproportionate to strip his seat,” Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said on Sunday. “He is an elected lawmaker after all.”

However, Wu stopped short of throwing his full support behind his colleague, who is being investigated by police.

“As the footage we have viewed is without sound, and there is a blind spot, we are still missing a big part of the story,” Wu said. “There are still two mysteries: one, the words Hui spoke [to the female officer]. Two, the testimony of the female.”

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Hui, 36, is under fire for grabbing a female civil servant’s phone and dashing into the men’s the toilet on Tuesday when the woman was trying to marshal lawmakers into a meeting to discuss a controversial government bill on stationing mainland Chinese officers in the city at a joint checkpoint for the HK$84.4 billion (US$10.8 billion) cross-border high-speed rail link.

He has apologised for the incident but pro-establishment party leaders have joined forces in calling for Hui to be kicked out of the Legislative Council, with New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee prepared to raise a motion to censure him. He could be removed from Legco if two-thirds of lawmakers support the motion after an investigation.

Speaking on a radio programme on Sunday, Ip said a Legco investigation, which would be initiated after her motion was formally raised, would take years to finish.

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“The investigation normally takes two years … it would be done only when our term of office almost finished [in 2020],” Ip said, rejecting any notion that her intention was to disqualify Hui to pave the way for her party colleague Judy Chan Ka-pui to run again in a by-election that would be held to fill his seat.

Chan was defeated by Au Nok-hin in the March 11 by-election in the Hong Kong Island constituency, which is Hui’s constituency.

“Is it appropriate for a person who behaved in such a way to be a lawmaker?” Ip said. “I think it is very serious. It was a criminal act.”