Pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui was removed from a Legislative Council panel meeting on Monday after he tried to raise a motion of no confidence against Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng.

At the meeting, Hui repeatedly asked Cheng questions over the disqualification of Lau Siu-lai from the upcoming by-election. Cheng confirmed that the Department of Justice gave legal advice to the government officer in charge of election affairs, but said the decision to bar Lau was made solely by the officer.

Ted Hui
Ted Hui being removed by security guards. Photo: LegCo Screenshot.

Hui demanded that a motion of no confidence be filed, but it was disallowed by lawmaker Priscilla Leung, the chair of the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services. Leung said it was irrelevant to the topic being discussed – pay adjustments for the judicial service.

She then ordered security guards to remove Hui from the meeting room since he “interfered with the progress of the meeting.”

‘Abuse of power’

Hui voiced his disagreement and said Leung approved the same motion filed by Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok in January at the same panel’s meeting, which followed the same agenda.

Priscilla Leung
Priscilla Leung. Photo: LegCo Screenshot.

Hui questioned whether Leung banned him from tabling the motion simply because more democrats were present at the meeting than pro-Beijing camp lawmakers, meaning the motion could potentially pass.

“Can a pro-Beijing chair abuse her power to such an extent?” Hui asked.

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Twenty-four other pro-democracy lawmakers also issued a joint statement in support of Hui, and condemned Leung as abusing her power. But Leung denied Hui’s accusation, saying she was only acting in accordance with the meeting rules.

Teresa Cheng
Teresa Cheng. Photo: LegCo Screenshot.

At the meeting, pro-Beijing lawmakers also criticised Cheng.

Starry Lee, chair of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said Cheng rarely commented on significant events in Hong Kong, and rarely appeared publicly other than at the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services.

“Residents have told me that they want to get to know the secretary at a closer level,” Lee said. “I have not been able to get in touch with the secretary on other occasions.”

Starry Lee
Starry Lee. Photo: LegCo Screenshot.

Lee also said she had not heard any comment on the enactment of the national security law from Cheng.

Cheng said the government had a constitutional duty to complete legislation for the national security law after carefully considering when the appropriate moment may be: “We have to give more consideration to this issue, so that we will make the best and the most appropriate decision,” Cheng said.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.