Disqualified Youngspiration lawmakers Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching have said they will not stand in the city’s upcoming by-elections. They also said that they will not file a judicial review against the Hong Kong legislature’s request for them to repay about HK$1.86 million in wages and expenses.
The duo were kicked out of the Legislative Council last October for not taking their oaths properly. Their case prompted a rare interpretation of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution by Beijing, sparking protests from the public and legal sector. On Friday, the Court of Final Appeal rejected their application to appeal the verdict.
By-elections will be held for their seats, as well as for the seats of four other pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified in July. On a Commercial Radio programme on Monday, Yau said that she does not intend to run.
“This by-election is a result of our disqualification from the legislature. If I re-enter, it is equivalent to saying that the government was correct in disqualifying me in the first place. I think this is illogical,” said Yau.
See more: Hong Kong legislature seeks HK$1.8 million from disqualified lawmakers, as Youngspiration duo hit legal dead end
“When I first ran, the aim was to find a path that is truly suited to Hongkongers. Today, we still think we were on the right path – Hongkongers should have the right to determine their future for themselves. If this political principle has been banned by the government, does that mean that I have to bend my beliefs according to the will of the government?… If I made this compromise, I would be doing a disservice to my electors and to myself.”
Leung also said that he did not have any concrete plans to run for election.
“In the past, I thought that [Legislative Council] elections were meaningful… But once the choices made in this process can be overruled, or the choices before this process can be overruled, then this is not a type of election that I recognize. Maybe some people will think it is meaningful, but I would find it hard to convince myself or others of why I would run for election.”
On Friday, Legislative Council President Andrew Leung said the Legislative Council would begin to pursue the money owed by Yau and Leung in wages and expenses from their time as legislators. The LegCo Secretariat said they would need to return around HK$930,000 each, and they would be given a suitable period of time to return the money.
Baggio Leung said the duo has not yet received any documents from the government regarding the request, due to the legislature being adjourned for summer recess. Yau said: “I do not see any legal basis for such a government action, against us or against the other four disqualified lawmakers.”
See also: HKFP’s full coverage of the LegCo oath-taking row
Yau and Leung said that they will not file a judicial review against the government’s request for repayment, but they would file for bankruptcy in the event that the government pursues the sum, totalling approximately HK$1.86 million. Individuals subject to an ongoing bankruptcy order cannot run for office.
Yau and Leung said they would not request donations from the public. Leung urged supporters to donate to the 16 pro-democracy and land rights activists jailed earlier in August instead.