Hong Kong Legco by-election candidate Lee Cheuk-yan ejected from poll briefing over anti-disqualification protest
- Disbarred candidate Lau Siu-lai was also removed from the event in Kowloon Bay after pro-democracy trio denounced government
- The three were protesting the returning officer’s decision to bar Lau from November’s by-election
A Hong Kong opposition candidate for the legislature and two of his aides were forcibly ejected on Monday from a briefing on next month’s Kowloon West by-election.
Security guards carried away Lee Cheuk-yan of the Labour Party, along with Lau Siu-lai and Mak Tak-ching, after the trio shouted slogans and unfurled a banner condemning the government. They were protesting Lau’s disqualification from the November 25 poll.
They were at an Electoral Affairs Commission briefing at the Kowloon Bay International Trade and Exhibition Centre, hosted by commission chairman Mr Justice Barnabas Fung Wah.
Lau, speaking to the press after being ushered out, said: “The government is shameful. I was not only banned from contesting the election. Now I am deprived of the chance to ask the electoral authorities to explain why I was disqualified.”
The briefing session had been intermittently disrupted as the three pan-democrats stood up and shouted the slogans “Anti-disqualification” and “Anti-political screening”.
Lee denied they were disrupting proceedings. He maintained: “I am here as a candidate to ask Mr Justice Fung to explain why Lau was disqualified.”
Lau, representing Democracy Groundwork, won a seat in the Kowloon West constituency in the 2016 general election but was disqualified from the Legislative Council for improperly taking her oath at the swearing-in.
She was one of six pan-democrats stripped of their seats because of the oaths. Four of the vacated seats were filled in by-elections last March.
The November by-election will fill one of the remaining two seats, with a by-election for the New Territories East constituency pending, as deposed member “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung is still appealing his disqualification.
Lau had planned to make a comeback this time and had joined the Labour Party to do so. But her nomination was invalidated, with the returning officer arguing that she had once advocated self-determination for Hong Kong and had not genuinely changed her stance.
Lau criticised the government as exercising “political screening”.
Five candidates will contest the by-election. Besides Lee, the other four are Frederick Fung Kin-kee, an independent pan-democrat formerly with the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood; Chan Hoi-yan, an independent widely supported by the pro-establishment camp and an aide of former health minister Ko Wing-man; Ng Dick-hay, unaffiliated and an anti-independence activist; and Judy Tzeng Li-wen, unaffiliated and widely known as a supporter of former radical lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man.
At the briefing, Fung relayed guidelines on election-related activities and electoral arrangements to candidates and their agents. A representative from the Independent Commission Against Corruption also explained the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance.
Before the briefing, lots were drawn to determine the order in which candidates’ names would appear on the ballot papers.