Ousted pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok has officially withdrawn from the Civic Party after he surfaced in Canada last week. The barrister announced his decision on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
“Thank you for the care and commiseration from friends over the past few days. I, Dennis Kwok, have already formally applied to resign from the Civic Party,” his statement read.
Kwok, who had co-founded the party, confirmed his move to Canada with his family to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail last Thursday. The paper reported that the former lawmaker planned to regain his Canadian citizenship after he had renounced it to become the legislative representative for the legal sector in 2012.
Kwok thanked three other party founding members in his parting message: “I sincerely thank the Civic Party, especially Ms Audrey Eu, Mr Alan Leong, and Ms Margaret Ng, for their continuous training, opportunity, support, and tolerance, and giving me a chance to serve Hong Kong citizens, and to defend Hong Kong’s core value.”
He had announced his retirement from politics last November days after he was abruptly ousted along with three fellow opposition lawmakers by the government for being deemed to have violated their oaths of loyalty to the government. The rest of the democratic camp collectively resigned in sympathy with the four, leaving the city’s legislature with no effective opposition.
The police are currently investigating whether Kwok committed misconduct while in public office during his time presiding over House Committee meetings from October 2019 to May 2020, according to local media citing sources. The probe surfaced shortly after The Globe and Mail’s report on Kwok’s move to Canada.
The ousted lawmaker had presided over at least 16 meetings during which the committee failed to elect a chairperson. Pro-Beijing lawmakers at the time had blasted the democratic camp for filibustering while China’s agencies in Hong Kong said such stalling tactics may be a breach of the lawmakers’ oaths and that the opposition lawmakers may be guilty of misconduct in public office.
Kwok became the latest opposition politician to leave Hong Kong as authorities crack down on all political dissent under the national security law passed last summer. Prominent pro-democracy figures Nathan Law, Baggio Leung and Ted Hui have all separately fled the city since the law was passed.