Civic Passion lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai has admitted to faking his friendship with disqualified localist legislators Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung because “the public are idiots.”

Cheng made the comments during an internal party meeting, recordings of which were leaked and broadcast during the podcast of internet activist Chau Sze-tat.

cheng chung tai civic passion
Cheng Chung-tai. File photo: HKFP.

Yau and Leung, of localist group Youngspiration, were disqualified from their legislative seats last November by the High Court owing to the way in which they took their oaths, a week after Beijing intervened to “interpret” Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.

Civic Passion is also considered a localist group, but Cheng announced earlier this year that it would withdraw from street movements and formalise its party structure. Retired ally and former lawmaker Raymond Wong has since suggested that the party has been conducting “political purges”.

‘I can’t say these things in public’

Cheng was heard making explicit comments against the Youngspiration duo in the undated recording broadcast by Chau last week: “People like Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching – fuck you, they should die, fuck your family! But the problem is, I can’t say these things in public.”

“I need to pretend to be their friends. My stance needs to be: I need to let others know I’m helping them, because the public are idiots, they think we’re localists, and that all localists are in the same camp.”

“Some people even think I’m from Youngspiration, like in Canada [they think that way].”

Baggio Leung chung hang Yau Wai-ching
Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung. File photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

In a Saturday Facebook post, Cheng admitted that he was indeed the voice in Chau’s recordings: “There’s nothing there that I can’t say in front of anyone, and there are no secrets or so-called revelations.”

He added that the people who voted for Yau instead of Civic Passion ally Raymond Wong during last September’s Legislative Council elections had mental problems. The veteran lawmaker lost by only 400 votes in the Kowloon West constituency to newcomer Yau, who took the last of six seats in the area.

See also: Ex-lawmaker Raymond Wong to quit politics, says localist youth face the ‘toughest of times’

Wong has since retired from politics, posting a lengthy statement in April lamenting that young localist supporters in Hong Kong face tremendous difficulties.

Cheng alluded to a section of Wong’s statement in the leaked recordings, in which the former lawmaker criticised Civic Passion for conducting increasingly intense “political purges” of its internal ranks, kicking out members and blocking people on Facebook.

“Do you agree with this, well if you don’t agree… I mean, this is my own bottom line,” said Cheng.

Raymond Wong
Raymond Wong. File Photo: iafos, via Flickr.

The 33-year-old New Territories West lawmaker is currently facing a government lawsuit accusing him of “desecrating” the Chinese and Hong Kong flags, after he flipped several miniature flags displayed by pro-Beijing lawmakers at a legislature meeting last year.

A former radio host on Passion Times – Civic Passion’s affiliated media outlet – also claimed last week that the outlet has been inflating the number of viewers of its live programmes.

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.