The Legislative Council has passed a request to form a select committee to investigate the violent clashes that occurred in Mong Kok last month and to give suggestions on how to prevent similar incidents. It comes weeks after the government refused to form a committee to investigate the unrest.

The Labour Party’s Cyd Ho Sau-lan and the Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu presented a petition at a Legislative Council session on Wednesday. Twenty-four pan-democratic lawmakers stood up in support of the petition, thus referring the matter to a select committee.

In the petition, Ho and Yeung said that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying deemed the incident a “riot” without thorough investigation. They said this was an “unconfirmed conclusion” echoed by the pro-Beijing camp.

mong kok unrest fire
File photo: Joel Christian.

They added that the clashes involved many participants and that the reason behind the incident was more likely “the strong discontent towards the government,” which could not be resolved by arresting dozens of protesters.

Risk of ‘further violence’

“If the reasons behind the clashes are not being found, and only being handled by high-handed measures, we are afraid that it would only further induce more violent ways of protest, creating more serious clashes, doing only harm and no good to society,” Ho and Yeung wrote.

They felt “disappointed” that the government refused to form an investigation committee to look into the clashes, hence they submitted the petition to urge for a select committee at the LegCo.

LegCo. Photo: HKFP.

Although the committee can look into the clashes, its power is limited as it is not covered by the Legislative Council Power and Privilege Ordinance. It also cannot summon witnesses.

During this legislative term, since 2012, two select committees have been formed, including one examining matters relating to former anti-corruption chief Timothy Tong Hin-ming, and another related to the beleaguered construction of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

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.