Lawmaker Eddie Chu has filed an election petition against the government’s decision to bar him from running in a village representative election.

Last December, Chu was banned from standing in the election for Yuen Kong San Tsuen, a small village in Pat Heung, Yuen Long. The decision was made by Yuen Long district officer Enoch Yuen, who acted as an electoral official.

Explaining his petition on Friday outside the High Court, Chu argued that Yuen had no power to conduct political censorship in the election.

Eddie Chu. Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Chu also argued that, even if an election officer had the power to ask him questions about his political views, he had already signed a declaration to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as a lawmaker.

Chu said Yuen had no clear evidence to question his declaration, and thus made a mistake in barring him from the race.

“I hope this case will be heard by the court as soon as possible, because there will be the District Council and the Legislative Council elections coming up in these two years. Many who are considering running will have to know what the court’s stance is on my case and other election petitions,” Chu said.

No date has been set for Chu’s case.

The entrance to Yuen Kong San Tsuen. Photo: Google Maps.

The election was held on January 13 and incumbent resident representative Yeung Kam-lun was elected without contest.

Chu said he filed the election petition on Friday because the deadline for filing a petition was set for February 6.

He said he has applied for legal aid to cover costs.

Returning officer Enoch Yuen. Photo: GovHK.

When Chu applied to run last November, Yuen asked him to state his position on Hong Kong independence as part of an interview to gauge his eligibility to stand. After receiving Chu’s answers, Yuen wrote that Chu evaded his questions about his stance on independence.

“His answers, when viewed objectively, can be understood as implicitly confirming that he supports that independence could be an option for Hong Kong people in the pretext of exercising the alleged right to advocate independence in a peaceful manner,” Yuen wrote in the ruling to bar Chu from running.

The ruling also said that Chu’s oath of office as a lawmaker in 2016, and his eligibility to run in the legislative election, were not factors in the decision to bar him from the village election race.

Kris Cheng

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.