Lawmaker-elect faces a burning question

Top News | Phoenix Un Mar 14, 2018
A Hong Kong Island resident has initiated a judicial review aimed at stopping Au Nok-hin, one of four Sunday by-election winners, from taking his Legislative Council seat.

Accused of "burning the Basic Law," legislator-elect Au stressed that he upheld the Basic Law and only burnt a prop of the document during a protest two years ago.

The High Court has scheduled a hearing for Friday.

Businessman Wong Tai-hoi, 47, demanded in a writ to the High Court that the decision of the returning officer for the Hong Kong Island constituency, Anne Teng Yu-yan, to confirm Au's candidacy was illegal, and also asked the court to invalidate Au's status as legislator and issue an injunction banning Au from taking the oath.

He said that an election petition was not suitable because he sought to ban Au from taking the oath.

Accompanied by former Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing, Wong filed the judicial review yesterday.

"Au burnt the Basic Law in 2016, openly acting opposite to the confirmation letter he signed when submitting his nomination to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR of the People's Republic of China," Wong Kwok-hing said on behalf of Wong.

The former lawmaker also claimed Au sang a song in a public space entitled City-State will return with Victory, favored by localists, which involves building a "Hong Kong city state."

Au burnt a prop of the Basic Law Annex III outside the Liaison Office during a protest on November 2, 2016, against the interpretation of Basic Law Article 104 in the oath-taking saga that led to the disqualification of six lawmakers.

Au said on a radio program that he always upheld the Basic Law and argued that he burnt a prop of the mini constitution only in a protest against an NPC interpretation two years ago.

"They shouldn't be cherry-picking because they're unhappy with the election results, and Wong Kwok-hing challenged with a judicial review. This will make the election meaningless," Au said.

He called on the pro-establishment camp to simply accept the election outcome, and respect the choice of Hong Kong Island voters.

Executive Council member Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a senior counsel, believed merely burning the mini-constitution might not be enough proof of not upholding the Basic Law.

"Although one was unhappy with certain articles in the Basic Law, he might still accept the constitutional status and political system as the Basic Law stated, then the mere burning might not be enough to prove that he did not uphold the Basic Law," Tong said.

Wong Kwok-hing denied being a sore loser by filing a judicial review only after Au won in the by-election. He said Wong had complained to the returning officer twice before the election but got no response. However, Wong refused to say why he waited until Au won.

Wong Tai-hoi is the general secretary of the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association, and the association had applied for an injunction against the Occupy Movement in Mong Kok in 2014.

The deputy director of the Basic Law Committee, Elsie Leung Oi-sie, said a returning officer has the power to decide whether a person can run in an election or not.

National People's Congress Hong Kong deputy Cheng Yiu-tong asked Au to resign for defacing the Basic Law.

Lam denies blame for poor turnout: Page 7

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March 2018