A member of the public filing a judicial review to disqualify Hong Kong opposition lawmakers Eddie Chu and Cheng Chung-tai owing to the way they took their oaths of office has failed to pay a HK$20,000 court deposit.

Mr Justice Thomas Au told applicant Lo King-yeung on Wednesday that the High Court will deliberate at a later date on whether his legal challenge will be thrown out as a result.

Cheng (L) and Chu (R) taking their oaths. Photo: Legislative Council.

In March, pro-Beijing solicitor Barry Chin handed in Lo’s judicial review request to oust lawmakers Chu and Cheng. Taking their oaths on the podium of the legislative chamber last October, Chu shouted “democratic self-determination, tyranny will end,” while Cheng shouted “a constitution by all people, make a new covenant.”

Bounced cheques

The High Court ordered Lo to pay an initial HK$20,000 in security for costs. But RTHK reported that the cheque he sent to the court bounced because it contained a writing mistake.

He made a second attempt to pay in July, but his cheque again contained a mistake, and was not accepted.

Lo’s counsel Lawrence Ma – a member of Hong Kong’s largest pro-Beijing party – told Justice Au on Wednesday that the applicant failed to pay the security because he was not familiar with legal procedures.

Lo King-yeung (R) accompanied by pro-Beijing activist Fu Chun-chung (L).

Lo told reporters outside the High Court that he would file another judicial review against Chu and Cheng if the judge threw out his current application.

See also: Lawmaker oaths: Experts say Beijing’s actions damaged rule of law and may have violated human rights

The High Court already disqualified six opposition lawmakers in the ongoing controversy over last October’s oath-taking ceremony as a result of lawsuits filed by the government. Beijing handed down a controversial interpretation of the Basic Law in November to retroactively stipulate how the legislators should have taken their oaths.

Elson Tong

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