The pan-democrats are to table a motion to impeach Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, after he was found to have intervened in a legislative committee tasked with investigating a controversial payment he received from Australian firm UGL.

“Our preliminary consensus is that we will table a motion to impeach Leung. We have considered the fact that he has less than two months in office, but we felt we should press ahead because this is a very serious matter,” Democratic Party lawmaker James To said Friday.

Leung Chun-ying during his 2017 Policy Address. Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

The announcement came five days after pro-Beijing lawmaker Holden Chow was revealed to have allowed Leung to edit a document, altering the scope of a legislative investigation into a confidential HK$50 million payment Leung received from UGL after assuming office as chief executive.

Both Leung and Chow have come under fire for attempting to influence the probe and disrespecting the role of lawmakers to keep the government in check.

James To said his camp will complete a draft as soon as possible, so that it can begin collecting signatures from a quarter of lawmakers – the minimum requirement for the motion to be presented to the legislature for discussion.

If the camp collects enough signatures, the motion will be discussed in the legislature on June 7 at the earliest.

However, legal sector lawmaker Dennis Kwok said the motion will likely be blocked by the establishment majority. But he said there is a need to leave an official record at the legislature, reminding others that Leung has done “such a ridiculous thing.”

Holden Chow

The democrats will also table a motion condemning Chow. Kwok said the motion will state clearly their allegations of Chow’s misconduct.

Holden Chow (middle). Photo: HKFP/Stanley Leung.

He and lawmaker Claudia Mo will both draft a motion on this matter. They plan to submit the motions to the Legislative Council Secretariat on Monday.

On Friday, Chow resigned from the committee on Friday, though he insisted that he did not do anything in breach of rules or the law. He also denied attempting to cover up anything, on the basis that he did not conceal the changes made by Leung to his document.

Later during a legislative session, Chow accused the democrats of smearing him.

Meanwhile, Leung criticised lawmakers for breaking confidentiality rules by exposing the matter to the public. He said he has the right to express his views as the subject of the probe.

In response, Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting expressed disapproval of the pair’s refusal to admit any wrongdoing. “Leung will continue using the same method to intervene in legislative affairs,” he warned.

Lam Cheuk-ting. File photo: Lam Cheuk-ting.

See also: Pro-Beijing lawmaker Holden Chow quits CY Leung investigation amid ‘editing’ scandal

“I believe Chow’s collusion with Leung in meddling in the committee is the most brusque and serious intervention in the legislature ever committed by the chief executive,” Lam said.

“Chow has lost all credibility,” he added, “he should step down as lawmaker.”

Ellie Ng

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