Ousted lawmaker Baggio Leung Chung-hang has said that he and Yau Wai-ching will bring the legal battle that stripped them of their lawmaker status to the Court of Final Appeal. They will appeal on December 28, the last day the are able to file.
The pair were kicked out of the Legislative Council after they protested during their oath-taking ceremonies in October, changing the wording of their oaths in a way some deemed insulting to Chinese people. The government lodged a legal challenge against them, but they lost both at the Court of First Instance on November 15 and the Court of Appeal on November 30.
He told HKFP that he was not very concerned about the deposit they will have to pay to the court to begin the final appeal. Their battle with the government, consisting of four cases, may entail paying HK$400,000 for each case as a deposit.
But he said their legal team was debating whether the four cases could be considered as one case, so that they only have to pay one deposit.
“They said it could be argued, but they could not give me an answer – no one has ever debated this,” he said. “HK$400,000 is better, it is closer to what we are able to get – HK$1.6 million is beyond our ability. We will have to continue raising funds.”
He said they chose to announce the appeal on Wednesday, but they would only formally submit their appeal on December 28, the last day of the appeal deadline.
“The government led us by the nose in the previous two legal proceedings. They have a lot of time advantages. We faced time constraints [preparing] our legal arguments. We also could not apply for legal aid,” he said. “There is no need to let them lead us by the nose. Waiting until the last day also gives them a shorter time to look at our argument, which is also a good thing.”
He told HKFP on Monday that his team prepared the legal arguments last week.
“They are now doing pressure tests to see if the arguments are solid,” he said.
Before the ruling on first hearing was handed down, Beijing’s top legislature issued an interpretation of the Basic Law – Hong Kong’s de facto constitution – stating that lawmakers must be sworn-in solemnly and sincerely.
Previously, Leung said he was concerned that the Court of Final Appeal may seek another interpretation if the judges cannot answer the points raised before them.
The Legislative Council Secretariat last week demanded that they pay back, in two weeks, HK$1.86 million worth of salaries and operating funds that the legislature had paid the duo before they were ousted, after they lost the appeal.
But Leung said their lawyers advised them to wait for the legislature to send them legal letters and examine the arguments.