Ann Chiang Lai-wan, a lawmaker from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), has said that more figures from the pro-Beijing camp should join the Legislative Council, and that this is the only way to solve LegCo’s problems.

She was writing on her Facebook page, in connection with a LegCo committee’s finding that complaints against two pan-democrat camp lawmakers – who failed to disclose donations totalling HK$2 million from media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying – were unsubstantiated. She said that the public was “shocked” that the complaints were dismissed.

Ann Chiang Lai-wan
Ann Chiang Lai-wan. File

The decision on the complaints was made by the Committee on Members’ Interests. Chiang said that the formation of the committee was in accordance with the tradition that it reflected the ratio of the number of lawmakers belonging to the different camps. Thus it consisted of four members from the pro-Beijing camp and three pan-democrats.

The votes were originally tied 3-3 between three pro-Beijing and three pan-democrats but, as committee chairman, DAB lawmaker Ip Kwok-him was obliged to vote against the complaint, according to LegCo’s rules of procedure.

“We can see that many of the rules of procedure protect the minority, but some rascals among the lawmakers have abused them, such as through the non-stop ‘filibustering’ and others,” Chiang said.

“The only cure is [if] more pro-Beijing camp figures join the legislature, otherwise many problems in the LegCo are unsolvable dead ends!” she concluded.

From left, Leung Kwok-hung, Jimmy Lai and Lee Cheuk-yan.
From left, Leung Kwok-hung, Jimmy Lai and Lee Cheuk-yan. File and Leung Kwok-hung.

No need to declare

The probe into the donations began after the committee received 15 complaints from the public, and a complaint was jointly lodged by five Federation of Trade Unions lawmakers in July and August 2014.

The complaints referred to a number of news reports which revealed that Jimmy Lai had deposited money in the bank accounts of Lee Cheuk-yan and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung.

Lee, of the Labour Party, and Leung, of the League of Social Democrats, received HK$1.5 million and HK$500,000 from Lai, respectively.

The committee ruled that Lee and Leung accepted the sums on behalf of their parties, rather than as lawmakers in their personal capacities, and that therefore there was no need for them to have declared the donations.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.