Newly-elected pro-democracy legislator Au Nok-hin has accused the pro-Beijing camp of being a “sore loser” for filing a judicial review over his eligibility as a lawmaker. The High Court has scheduled a hearing for Friday morning.

Au won Sunday’s by-elections with 137,181 votes, beating the New People’s Party’s Judy Chan. He is due to take the oath next Wednesday. However, on Tuesday pro-establishment district councillor Wong Kwok-hing assisted a Hong Kong Island voter in filing a judicial review challenge over Au’s candidacy, saying that he was not eligible to run because of his alleged advocacy for self-determination and Hong Kong independence.

Au Nok-hin. Photo: In-Media.

The writ states that Au burned a copy of the Basic Law in 2016. It asked whether he truly upheld the Basic Law and whether the election officer should have allowed him to run.

Au’s rivals accused him of burning the Basic Law based on a photo taken during a 2016 protest. Au said the photo was taken during a protest to oppose Beijing’s interpretation of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution over lawmakers’ oath-taking.

On an RTHK radio programme on Wednesday morning, Au said: “I felt as if I was walking on thin ice… when I was running these arguments were put forward by my opponent Judy Chan. I must clarify – she completely misunderstood the intention behind it,” Au said.

“[H]aving been in politics all these years and experienced many elections, I must say this was a rather dirty election,” he said, adding that his opponents tended to make false allegations against him in forums.

Au Nok-hin. Photo: In-Media.

Au said the object in the photo was not a real copy of the Basic Law, but a printout of the cover of the document’s Annex III. He said he intended to raise the question of whether the National People’s Congress Standing Committee respected the rule of law by prematurely handing down the interpretation before the courts came to a decision.

“If I respond, I can’t just do it in two or three sentences… I didn’t have the opportunity to say all of these at an election forum,” he said.

At a previous RTHK forum, Au said he would “not mind” burning the Basic Law again if it was necessary for the purposes of a protest. Au said on Wednesday that his statement does not mean that he does not uphold the Basic Law.

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.