Poll run at risk as bankrupt worries haunt Long Hair

Top News | Sum Lok-kei Jul 17, 2017
A disqualified legislator says he expects his court appeal to bankrupt him and likely make him miss standing in a by- election.

"Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung was one of four lawmakers disqualified on Friday by High Court Judge Thomas Au Hing-cheung, who found their oaths disrespectful. The others were independents Edward Yiu Chung-yim and Lau Siu- lai and Demosisto's Nathan Law Kwun-chung.

Leung from the League of Social Democrats, opened an umbrella and chanted slogans during his swearing- in, which Au said were "not related to the very purpose of the oath-taking."

In November last year, Youngspiration's Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang were ousted from the Legislative Council - also over their oaths.

A hearing for two judicial reviews launched by a citizen in the hopes of ejecting two other pan-democrats - Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Cheng Chung- tai - is scheduled to begin on July 26.

The disqualification of the six gives the pro-establishment group the majority in both the Legco's geographical and the functional constituencies, and there is now speculation that the government may delay calling the by- elections to push through stalled policies.

Speaking on a televised program yesterday, Leung said he would definitely appeal, even though losing the appeal would cost each of them more than HK$3 million.

If he lost it could bankrupt him, Leung added, as he would not only have to pay for his legal expenses, but would also have to absorb the government's legal bill.

As such, Leung said he may not be able to run in the by-elections.

Leung accused the government of delaying by-elections for the seats of the Youngspiration pair - an advantage for the pro-establishment camp.

However, Leung was against a suggestion that all pro-democracy lawmakers resign to force more by- elections and disrupt the Legco's operations.

"If a mass resignation means only trying to get reelected, what is the point?" Leung said, adding that would be "a total break-up with the administration."

He doubted though if those calling for such an action were prepared to take up the challenge.

Aside from the legal costs, the four disqualified lawmakers may each have to repay the Legco HK$2.5 million to HK$3 million in salaries and allowances they have drawn. Each received a salary of HK$856,620 over the past nine months, and each spent over HK$1 million in running their offices and paying their staff, according to public records.

Executive Council member Ronny Tong Ka-wah said the four may have to repay their salaries, but it is not certain if the funds given to their assistants would also have to be returned.

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June 2018