Localist lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai of Civic Passion is to face prosecution for allegedly desecrating the national and regional flags after he was seen flipping the flags in protest during a legislative session last October.

Cheng said his office received a phone call from police on Monday asking the lawmaker to pick up a prosecution notice at the Central Police Station. Police said his conduct violated the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance, as well as the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance.

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Cheng was filmed apparently flipping the Chinese and Hong Kong flags upside down inside the LegCo chamber last October. Shortly following the incident, pro-Beijing lawmaker Edward Lau Kwok-fan reported the case to police and urged them to prosecute Cheng.

Lau said there are things Chinese people and and lawmakers of “Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China” that cannot be tolerated.

Legislative Council President Andrew Leung said Monday that he did not know about the details of the case, but he would cooperate with police investigations and give a testimony if necessary.

See also: Civic Passion lawmaker kicked out of LegCo meeting for flipping Hong Kong and China flags

Pro-Beijing lawmakers displayed the flags during the session as a political gesture. Cheng said at the time that he flipped them upside down because he considered the display to be “cheap patriotic acts,” as pro-Beijing lawmakers ignored livelihood issues and the nationality controversy that Andrew Leung was embroiled in.

“I flipped the Hong Kong flags upside down on behalf of Hong Kong people to show my discontent,” he said at the time.

Ann Chiang
Ann Chiang tried to rectify the situation after the flags were seen being flipped upside down. Photo: Facebook/Cheng Chung-tai.

It is an offence to desecrate the national or regional flags by methods such as “burning, mutilating, scrawling on, defiling or trampling on it.” The offence carries a maximum penalty of a HK$50,000 fine and three years behind bars.

HKFP has contacted police for confirmation.

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.