Andy Chan, whose pro-independence party was banned last year, has begun to present his case to the government’s Executive Council (Exco).
The Hong Kong National Party, which Chan co-founded, was last September banned by the government, who had justified the decision by citing national security concerns under the Societies Ordinance. It is the first party to have been banned under this Ordinance since the 1997 Handover.
Chan entered government headquarters for the closed-door meeting at 9am on Monday, saying that he had little choice but to represent himself without a lawyer: “The [committee] unreasonably refused to change the meeting time, and my lawyer couldn’t come – so I had to come in person.”
The Exco is the government’s top advisory body to the chief executive.
Chan messaged reporters at 10:21am to say that the hearing had ended. When approached by reporters, Chan said he could not reveal details about the hearing.
He said his lawyer had sought to reschedule the meeting. The Security Bureau did not disagree to do so. However, the Exco committee denied the request and did not give a solid reason behind that denial.
“My legal rights are being deprived, but I have nevertheless decided to come to express my views,” Chan said.
He added that he did not know when the result of the appeal would be handed down.
According to the Administrative Appeal Rules, the chief executive “may appoint a committee of no fewer than two members of the Executive Council… to hear any appeal or class of appeals.”
Three Exco members – Martin Liao Cheung-kong, Chow Chung-kong and Joseph Yam Chi-kwong – had reportedly been chosen to hear the party’s appeal.
In October last year, Chan requested that eight executive council members excuse themselves as they had already commented on his case.
Last month, Exco member and lawmaker Regina Ip said that she believed the hearing process would be fair and impartial.
Under the Societies Ordinance, anyone who manages or assists in the management of an unlawful society may be subject to a HK$100,000 fine and three years in prison.