Pro-Beijing lawmaker Edward Lau Kwok-fan has reported a fellow lawmaker’s flag-flipping protest to the police and urged them to investigate and prosecute in accordance with the law.

Localist lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai of Civic Passion turned Chinese and Hong Kong flags on the desks of pro-Beijing camp lawmakers upside down twice during a meeting of the Legislative Council on Wednesday. He did so in protest of the camp’s walk-out, which prevented three lawmakers from retaking their oaths to assume office.

Edward Lau Cheng Chung-tai
Edward Lau (left) and Cheng Chung-tai (right). Photo: HKFP/Apple Daily.

Lau said that “as a Chinese person, as a Legislative Councillor of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China, there are some things that cannot be done – there are also some things that cannot be tolerated.”

Lau, a newly elected lawmaker from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, wrote to the police saying that he provided about ten lawmakers with the Chinese and Hong Kong flags, and Cheng “intentionally” turned them upside down.

“During the course of events, someone urged him [to stop], but he did not pay attention, and repeated the action later,” Lau wrote.

He was referring to Ann Chiang Lai-wan, his party colleague, who shouted at Cheng to stop before she returned the flags to their original state.

Ann Chiang
Ann Chiang spotted that flags were flipped upside down. Photo: Facebook/Cheng Chung-tai.

Lau claimed that Cheng’s actions violated section seven of the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance and the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance.

The ordinances state that any person that desecrates the flags or emblems by publicly and wilfully burning, mutilating, scrawling on, defiling or trampling on them is committing an offence, and is liable upon conviction to a fine and to imprisonment for three years.

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“I hereby ask the police to launch an investigation immediately over Cheng Chung-tai’s illegal action and prosecute him in accordance with the law,” Lau wrote.

Lau, elected through the District Council (First) functional constituency to the Council, was without competition in the election, as his party controls a majority number of seats in the District Council. He was therefore automatically elected.

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.