Pro-democracy lawmakers Au Nok-hin and Gary Fan have lost their seats after Hong Kong’s top court rejected their applications to appeal separate court rulings that rendered them unduly elected.

Au filed an application to appeal the election petition of Agnes Chow, and Fan filed an application to appeal the election petition of Ventus Lau. The Court of Final Appeal on Tuesday rejected both applications.

Au Nok-hin and Gary Fan. File photo:

Chow and Lau were prohibited from entering the Legislative Council by-election in March 2018 over their political views. Au and Fan were subsequently elected.

A court overturned the disqualifications in September saying that the election officers in charge had denied Chow and Lau a fair opportunity to respond.

The rulings meant that neither Au nor Fan was duly elected to their seats, therefore, both filed applications to appeal to the top court.

Fan and Au have lost their seats as a result of the Court of Final Appeal rejecting their applications on Tuesday.

It remains unclear if the government will hold another by-election to fill Fan and Au’s seats because there are only nine months left in the current Legislative Council’s term. It usually takes around three months for the government to organise a by-election.

Agnes Chow. File Photo:

Lau said in a statement that he welcomed the court’s decision as it established that the election officer had made an unlawful decision that made an election invalid.

“I hope election officers will stop political vetting candidates,” he said, adding that Hongkongers must continue to fight for democracy.

Lau said that it was sad to see Au and Fan lose their seats and praised their efforts in ongoing pro-democracy protests, now in their seventh month.

Ventus Lau. File Photo:

Au said the government should shoulder responsibility for wrongly disqualifying the election candidates. “It is ridiculous that the interests of Chow, myself, and 130,000 people who voted for me have been harmed,” he said.

Au said there must be a flaw in the electoral system which threatens to affect prospective lawmakers in the upcoming election of the Legislative Council.

Fan said he was disappointed by the court’s ruling, saying that it was the government’s fault and an “injustice” for them to be unseated.

He said that he and Au will continue to participate in the protests through other means of support for frontline and arrested protesters. “I want to thank people who voted for us and supported our work at the Legislative Council,” he said.

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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.