Hong Kong court rules localist lawmakers Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching disqualified from Legco seats

Hong Kong court rules localist lawmakers Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching disqualified from Legco seats


Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching appeared in High Court on November 6, 2016.
Photo: David Wong/SCMP

[UPDATE: Tuesday, November 15 - 4.35pm]

Sixtus Leung pledged to appeal the court’s decision, which he said would affect Hong Kong for decades.

“I was calmer than I expected,” he said of hearing the judgement. “I’ll soon discuss possible legal actions with my lawyers.”

He added he was not fighting for his Legislative Council seat but for the city, and that he did not regret what he had done.

The Youngspiration member said the judgement would cause many who advocated self-determination for Hong Kong to rethink their future plans.

“We have been trying hard to deliver our message through electioneering, but can we still do the same in future?” he asked. “The returning officers and Legco secretary general exhausted all means to block us.”

Yau Wai-ching said she was not surprised by the ruling, as the government had worked hard to disqualify them and remove them from Legco. “It’s expected, because the government does such actions [judicial reviews] to put pressure on judges,” she said outside the court.

Asked what they would do next, Yau said they would give the details at a press conference at 7.30 tonight at Legco.

[PUBLISHED: Tuesday, November 15 - 3.54pm]

Hong Kong’s High Court has ruled that the Youngspiration lawmakers caught up in the oath-taking saga must vacate their seats.

In his judgment handed down Tuesday afternoon, Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung said Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who both pronounced the country in a manner deemed as an insult to China, had “declined” to take their oaths, so must be disqualified.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung requested the judicial review last month, in hopes of disqualifying the pair, who pronounced China as “Shee-na” – a variation of “Shina” – a derogatory term used by Japan during wartime, during their swearing in ceremonies on October 12.

No chief executive has ever requested a review like this before, and many people turned up to the High Court in Admiralty to hear the ruling.

The main issue in the judicial review was whether Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, who had already invalidated their oaths, had the power to give Sixtus Leung and Yau a second chance to be sworn in.

Anti-independence groups outside the Legco Building in support of Beijing and to express anger at Youngspiration's lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung.
Photo: Dickson Lee/SCMP

The government said he did not have such authority; the localists said that he did and that the court should not intervene, because their should be a separation of powers. The Legco president’s lawyers said he had no role in the case.

But last Monday, four days after the initial court hearing, Beijing issued a high-level interpretation of the Basic Law by Beijing.

Stressing the need for national security and to keep pro-independence voices out of Legco, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress said that lawmakers and other public officials must take their oaths “sincerely”, “accurately”, and “completely”.

The committee also ruled that an oath administrator has the power to disqualify anyone who fails the oath on purpose, and that no second chance would be given.

But it did not say whether this ruling would affect lawmakers who made mistakes in their oaths in previous years. Pro-establishment supporters have already filed several other judicial reviews that target about a dozen lawmakers who added words to their oaths to make a political statement.

Some Basic Law Committee members gave the view that it was up to the court to decide that matter.

A timeline of the oath taking drama

November, 10 - 15 Hong Kong lawmakers now face prospect of being expelled from Legislative Council

November, 10 - Hong Kong Lawyers march against Beijing intervention into oath-taking controversy

November, 8 - Two more Hong Kong localists could be disqualified; Nathan Law and Lau Siu-lai at risk after Beijing ruling

November, 2 - Legco chaos and fighting on the floor as two localists storm the meeting 

November, 1CY Leung ‘can’t rule out’ asking Beijing to interpret Basic Law over Hong Kong oath-taking saga


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