The administrative body of the Legislative Council has gone to court to ask disqualified lawmakers Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching to pay back wages and subsidies given to them by the legislature.
In response, they said they “have yet to see any reason to return any of the relevant amount.” The duo said they have not yet received any official letters or documents, but will discuss follow-up actions with lawyers upon receiving the legal papers.
The lawmakers were ejected from the city’s legislature over the controversial way in which they took their oaths of office. In a rare move, Beijing handed down an interpretation of the city’s de facto constitution, leading a court to rule that they were never lawmakers to begin with. Each were asked to repay HK$929,573 in wages and subsidies given to them since they took office. The pair failed in their final legal appeal against their disqualifications in late August, and were asked to pay back the money by September 12.
On Friday, the LegCo Commission – a body formed mostly by pro-Beijing lawmakers to decide on administrative matters – applied to the District Court to ask for the return of their wages and subsidies.
The Commission said it had asked them to pay back the money four times: on December 5 and 20 of last year, January 19 and August 29 this year.
Previously, the duo had said they should only repay part of their wages to the Legislative Council.
They said that the court ruled that were not lawmakers from October 12 last year – the day they failed to take their oaths of office. Thus, their salaries between October 1 and 11 should be theirs to keep.
The subsidies were a one-off sum given to lawmakers to purchase equipment and cover salaries for their assistants.
Leung and Yau had said that it would be more appropriate to return the equipment they had bought and the related invoices, as part of their effort to return the money.
If the pair are unable or unwilling to pay, they may have to declare bankruptcy. Individuals subject to an ongoing bankruptcy order cannot run for office. They had said, however, that they will not stand in the upcoming by-elections next March.