Hong Kong's Legislative Council sees injuries as lawmakers fight

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  • An argument erupted over whether pro-Beijing lawmaker Starry Lee was allowed to take the chairperson seat after previously recusing herself.
  • A total of 10 lawmakers were removed from Legco and one was sent to hospital.
Wong Tsui-kai |
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Pro-Beijing legislator Junius Ho, centre, gestures as he attempts to scuffle with pro-democracy legislators at the Legislative Council's House Committee meeting.

Physical scuffles erupted in the Legislative Council after a six month deadlock in selecting a chairperson for a major committee, resulting is opposition lawmakers being dragged from the chamber as Starry Lee Wai-king retook the chairperson seat.

Originally recusing herself from the seat for Civic Party legislator Dennis Kwok to oversee the elections for a new chairperson, the leader of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong took the podium and physically occupied it before a meeting for the selection of the House Committee chair.

The proceedings soon devolved into a shouting match and Lee ordered the removal of pan-democrat lawmakers, despite the camp citing legal advice of her breach of procedure and abuse of power. Those allegations were countered by her own camp citing other legal advice, saying that she had the power to handle urgent matters.

Pan-democratic legislator Raymond Chan Chi-chuen falls down after scuffling with security guards during a Legislative Council's House Committee meeting, in Hong Kong, Friday, May 8, 2020. Scuffles broke out at Hong Kong's Legislative Council on Friday, as lawmakers from opposing camps competed to preside over a meeting held to determine who has authority over a key committee which scrutinizes bills. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Legco’s legal adviser, Connie Fung Sau-kuen, agreed that Lee, as the incumbent committee chair, had the power to preside over the meeting. She denied that this contradicted earlier advice she provided in October.

“The original advice in October is about a normal situation … The rules of procedure are to facilitate the meeting; they cannot be interpreted to paralyse the meeting.”

All told, 10 lawmakers were removed, among them Democratic Party member Andrew Wan Siu-kin, who injured his back and was taken to hospital in an ambulance, while Raymond Chan Chi-chuen was sent to the floor by FTU lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung.

Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO), and its liaison office in the city have accused Kwok of paralysing Legco with filibustering tactics and made strongly worded statements arguing for his removal.

Calls erupted across social media for protests at Mong Kok, Wong Tai Sin, Tsim Sha Chui and Pacific Place in Admiralty at 6pm in response.

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