LegCo gazettes va­can­cies af­ter oath-tak­ing ver­dict 1.9 mil­lion HK dol­lar

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By LUIS LIU in Hong Kong luis­liu@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

The Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil on Monday gazetted two va­can­cies aris­ing from the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tions of two for­mer leg­is­la­tors-elect whose ap­peal against the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion was re­jected by the Court of Ap­peal.

The two seats were held by the sep­a­ratist pair, Six­tus Le­ung Chung-hang, from New Ter­ri­to­ries East, and Yau Wai-Ching, from Kowloon West.

Mean­while, the leg­is­la­ture will start its re­fund­ing pro­ce­dures, ask­ing the pair to re­pay all their re­mu­ner­a­tion and op­er­at­ing funds. LegCo Pres­i­dent An­drew Le­ung Kwan-yuen said the LegCo Sec­re­tariat will send a let­ter to the pair shortly about this.

According to LegCo doc­u­ments, the pair has to each re­fund a monthly re­mu­ner­a­tion of HK$95,180 and a to­tal of HK$834,393 in op­er­at­ing funds they had each been ad­vanced, which amounts to a to­tal of HK$1.9 mil­lion.

The LegCo Com­mis­sion told re­porters the pair must re­pay re­mu­ner­a­tion and op­er­at­ing funds no later than Dec 19.

According to the lat­est in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ar­ti­cle 104 of the Ba­sic Law adopted in early Novem­ber by the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPCSC), the na­tion’s top leg­is­la­ture, “no public of­fice shall be as­sumed, no cor­re­spond­ing pow­ers and func­tions shall be ex­er­cised, and no cor­re­spond­ing en­ti­tle­ments shall be en­joyed by any­one who fails to law­fully and validly take the oath or who de­clines to take the oath”.

The two were dis­qual­i­fied from public of­fice on Nov 15 by the High Court fol­low­ing a ju­di­cial re­view which the gov­ern­ment launched.

The High Court ruled that the two vi­o­lated the Ba­sic Law by re­fus­ing to fol­low the stip­u­lated oath of of­fice dur­ing a swear­ing-in cer­e­mony on Oct 12. The pair hurled in­sults at the na­tion by cor­rupt­ing the of­fi­cial oath with their own po­lit­i­cally charged word­ing and pre­sented a ban­ner ad­vo­cat­ing their sep­a­ratist po­si­tion.

On Nov 30, the Court of Ap­peal up­held the lower court’s de­ci­sion that the two seats be held va­cant, af­ter find­ing that there was no le­gal ba­sis for the two to “re­take” the oath.

According to the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil Or­di­nance, the leg­is­la­ture is re­quired to gazette coun­cil va­can­cies within 21 days af­ter a va­cancy oc­curs.

The gov­ern­ment ear­lier said that once a va­cancy is gazetted, a by-elec­tion will fol­low within four to six months.

Cur­rently, four other law­mak­ers face pos­si­ble dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion in a sep­a­rate ju­di­cial re­view. All four al­legedly al­tered the of­fi­cial word­ing of the oaths dur­ing the Oct 12 swear­ing-in cer­e­mony.

to­tal amount of re­mu­ner­a­tions and op­er­at­ing funds the two dis­qual­i­fied law­mak­ers-elect have to re­turn to the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil

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