The High Court has rejected a businessman’s legal bid to challenge pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin’s eligibility to stand for election.

Au won a seat in the Hong Kong Island constituency in the Legislative Council by-elections this month, which took place to fill four seats previously vacated in the oath-taking row. He was sworn into office last Wednesday.

File photo: In-Media.

Earlier this month, businessman Wong Tai-hoi, assisted by pro-establishment district councillor Wong Kwok-hing, filed a judicial review to challenge Au’s candidacy.

The writ claimed that Au should not have been allowed to run due to his alleged support for self-determination and Hong Kong independence. It challenged the decision of Anne Teng, the electoral official for the Hong Kong Island constituency, allowing Au to run.

The pair also alleged that Au’s actions and statements – including burning a mock-up of the Basic Law and allegedly supporting Hong Kong independence – mean that he violated the requirements in his election declaration, and was thus not eligible to stand in the by-election.

Au Nok-hin. Photo: In-Media.

On Wednesday, Senior Counsel Paul Shieh – representing Au – told the court that the applicant was mistaken in applying for a judicial review, and that he should have lodged an election petition against Au’s candidacy instead.

Wong’s counsel, Tim Wong, said that the judicial review was intended to prevent the government from publishing the election results in the gazette and thus preventing Au from taking office. However, as the government had already gazetted the result, they were seeking an announcement declaring that the result was invalid.

Court of First Instance judge Anderson Chow declined to grant leave in a decision handed down on Thursday.

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.