Govt moves to dis­qual­ify four more law­mak­ers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By SHADOW LI in Hong Kong stushadow@chi­nadai­

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

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