A Hong Kong academic has criticised the government’s decision to ban the disqualified lawmaker Lau Siu-lai from running in next month’s by-election.
Eric Cheung Tat-ming, a law lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, called the ban a “blatant violation of procedural justice” and an example of “politics overriding the law”.
Posting on his Facebook page on Sunday, Cheung said Lau’s case had been badly handled by returning officer Franco Kwok Wai-fun.
He said Kwok’s decision to ban Lau was based on the fact that another disqualified lawmaker, Andy Chan Ho-tin, was banned from taking part in the in the 2016 Legislative Council election. However, Cheung said Kwok had focused too heavily on the outcome of that case, rather than the judicial procedure itself.
Cheung pointed out that the judge in Chan’s case, Thomas Au Hing-cheung, said the returning officer should give the candidate the chance to explain and defend themself, and then take their defence into consideration before making a decision.
Cheung urged the government to explain why Lau’s case had been handled this way.
The ousted pro-democracy lawmaker’s hopes of returning to the Legislative Council were shattered on Friday after the government banned her from taking part in next month’s Kowloon West by-election.
Lau said the ban was “unreasonable”, and her thoughts had been “completely distorted”. She also questioned why she was not given a chance to explain and defend herself.