The Legislative Council has voted to reject a motion to use special powers granted by the Powers and Privilege Ordinance to investigate the unrest in Mong Kok in February.

The functional constituencies voted 18 against and seven for, while the geographical constituencies voted 14 for and nine against, with one abstaining. Under the current system, the motion was not passed since it was not supported by both groups.

The Mong Kok unrest broke out over the government’s clearance of street hawkers in the area during Lunar New Year. During the protest, a police officer fired two shots into the sky and dozens were arrested by the police in the aftermath.

mong kok clashes unrest riot
Mong Kok riots. Photo: HKFP.

Pro-democracy independent lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man moved a motion that called for the Legislative Council to set up a special committee to investigate the conflict between the protesters and police.

“The Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying did not investigate the causes behind the event, and the next day labelled the conflict as a riot and the protesters as rioters. If the government really thinks that the incident was that severe it should, all the more, set up an independent committee headed by a judge to investigate the matter,” said lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, of the pro-democracy Labour Party on Friday.

Cyd Ho
Cyd Ho Sau-lan. File photo: Stand News.

Lawmaker Starry Lee Wai-king, of the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, also said on Friday: “My reason to oppose is very clear. Because today, this motion is clearly a motion for expressing political stances.”

She added that the issue was split between the two camps, one which thought the police acted within reason, and one which thought that the fault lay with the Chief Executive. She said she did not see a chance for either camp to convince the other within a short time when the current Legislative Council is ending soon.

Secretary for Lai Tung-kwok also said on Wednesday that he did not believe that a special committee would be able to solve difficulties in governance.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.