Hong Kong’s Legislative Council is to request that disqualified Youngspiration lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung repay HK$1.86 million in wages and expenses from their time as legislators. The pair lost their final legal challenge against their disqualification at the city’s top court on Friday.
Yau and Leung were seeking to overturn the court decision that unseated them from the legislature, after they were deemed to have not taken their oaths of office properly. During the swearing in ceremony, they displayed a “Hong Kong is not China” flag and changed the wording of their oaths in a way some deemed insulting to Chinese people. The case triggered a controversial interpretation of the Basic Law by Beijing.
However, the Court of Final Appeal on Friday refused to grant them permission to move forward with the case, ruling that their grounds for appeal were not reasonably argued.
Speaking to reporters following the ruling, Legislative Council President Andrew Leung said: “The Legislative Council Secretariat, in accordance with the decision of the Commission, will begin pursuing the amount of money owed. We will write to them and, depending on their reply, the Commission will decide on follow-up action.”
Leung said that the amount was around HK$890,000 for each of them, and they will be given a suitable period of time to return the money. However, the LegCo Secretariat subsequently said that they each owe about $930,000. Leung also said that the Legislative Council has employed a senior counsel to provide them with legal advice.
“As a Legislative Council president, of course I wish to have 70 legislators to serve the people of Hong Kong.”
Outside the court on Friday morning, Baggio Leung said they were deeply disappointed that the Court of Final Appeal dismissed their appeal application.
“When the Secretary [for] Justice and Communist Party abuse our legal system with political procedure, and our court refuse[s] to look at this, how [can] Hong Kong people admit that there [is] rule of law, if there is still no democracy system?”
Leung also said that there will be more political cases for the Court of Final Appeal to rule upon, aside from the cases of the Umbrella Movement trio who were recently handed jail terms.
“We sincerely hope the judges of CFA will uphold the rule of law when Hong Kong is [at a] critical moment. They are the only persons who can save the Hong Kong people, who can save our fate,” Leung said.
“[The fact we lost] the disqualification case today does not spell the end for the two of us,” Yau said. “The government banned me from the Legislative Council, but there is another world for me outside the Legislative Council, and a lot of work for us to do.”
“I hope HongKongers will not give up this place after seeing today’s results, because this place still has a lot of people who are quietly working hard and quietly facing oppression by the Hong Kong government.”
The duo said they expect that their legal costs will be around HK$12 million, and that they expect to go bankrupt.
Leung Kwok-hung, who was also ousted as a lawmaker in similar circumstances, said outside court that he would be appealing his case.
Clarification: This article previously used an amount given by LegCo President Andrew Leung, who said that the former lawmakers each owed around HK$890,000. The LegCo Secretariat has since stated that they each owe around HK$930,000.