Govt moves to disqualify four more lawmakers
The Department of Justice on Friday filed a judicial review with the High Court to challenge four more radical lawmakers over the validity of their oaths — after an earlier court ruling on a similar case disqualified two separatist lawmakers and vacated their seats in the city’s legislature.
This is the second judicial review the government has lodged seeking the legislators’ disqualifications on the grounds of invalid oath-taking. The four lawmakers are Lau Siu-lai, Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Edward Yiu Chung-yim.
In a statement on Friday afternoon, the SAR government said the decision to pursue a second judicial review was made in accordance with the law. It aims to ensure all Legislative Council members are bound by Hong Kong’s laws, including the Basic Law.
The government had a thorough review of two earlier court rulings against two separatist lawmakers-elect Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang. The government acted upon the independent legal advice of their senior counsels, before making the decision, the statement said.
Yau and Leung received widespread criticism when they turned the solemn swearing-in for LegCo members on Oct 12 into a highly offensive attack on the nation. They did this by corrupting the oath with insulting language and displaying a banner proclaiming “Hong Kong is not China”.
The nation’s top legislature — the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) — issued an interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law on Nov 7. This clarifies the requirement and implications for senior officials, lawmakers and judges to take the stipulated oath accurately and solemnly before they can assume office.
On Nov 15, the High Court ruled in favor of the SAR government and disqualified Yau and Leung, finding the pair had violated the Basic Law when they refused to take the oath sincerely and solemnly.
Yau and Leung’s appeal against the ruling was quashed on Wednesday by three appellant judges of the Court of Appeal (CA).
The CA held that oath-taking is not a matter of LegCo’s internal business, as it is a constitutional requirement under the Article 104 of the Basic Law. Thus, it should be subject to the court’s authority for adjudication.
Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung told the media on Friday night that the CA’s ruling had made it crystal clear that all legislators are bound by Hong Kong’s law and the Basic Law has supreme status in the city.
Lau Siu-lai purportedly took a long pause between each word when reading out the oath. She later explained on her social media account that the gesture was to express defiance toward the oath.
The other three lawmakers facing the new judicial review have all corrupted the oath by inserting their own views.
The Court of Appeal’s ruling has made it crystal clear that all legislators are bound by Hong Kong’s law.” , secretarty for justice