A case against two independent lawmakers has been postponed because the case deposit hasn’t been paid. Legal action is being sought against Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Cheng Chung-tai, who are accused of have improperly taken their Legislative Council oaths last October. However, plaintiff Lo King-yeung has not yet paid the HK$20,000 court case deposit, meaning the legal challenge cannot proceed at this time.
The High Court had told Lo to pay the court deposit earlier this year, but the cheques he wrote bounced as he kept making mistakes when writing them out.
The defence yesterday said Lo was clearly not serious about pursuing the court case as, nine months after the oath-taking ceremony, he had still not managed to pay the surety.
Lo’s counsel Lawrence Ma Yan-kwok, the barrister and Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker, said the plaintiff was ignorant of the law, and that the law didn’t state clearly what the deadline is supposed to be. He urged Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung to continue the case.
Au questioned Ma on why he hadn’t sought instruction from the court, before adding he will decide whether or not to throw out the judicial review at a later date.
During their swearing-in last October, Cheng shouted slogans calling for the constitution to be written by Hongkongers and “long live Hong Kong”, and Chu called for democratic self-determination and the death of tyranny, as well as rejecting Andrew Leung as Legco president. In November, Beijing handed down a controversial interpretation of the Basic Law that says the oath-taking has to be done in a certain way. Last week, Cheng and Chu admitted that, according to the principles laid down in the court ruling on July 14, they were in great danger of being disqualified.
The court earlier ruled that four pan-democracy lawmakers – “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kun-chung, Lau-Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim – had taken their oaths improperly, and banned them from office. Their disqualification followed an earlier court ruling to unseat pro-independence pair Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching. Baggio Leung and Yau have one more chance to overturn their Legco disqualification before the Court of Final Appeal next month.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said earlier this month that the government had no plans to go after more pan-democrat lawmakers, but there are still judicial review applications in process lodged over improper oath-taking by Chu, Cheng, Shiu Ka-chun, and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen.