A pro-democracy district councillor has given up his seat after losing a legal challenge against the 2019 District Council Election result.

In a message posted on social media on Monday, Kowloon City District Councillor Timothy Lee said he would not be going ahead with an appeal against an earlier court decision to disqualify him.

Timothy Lee
Timothy Lee. Photo: Timothy Lee, via Facebook.

High Court judge Keith Yeung ruled on March 25 that Lee was improperly elected after his opponent Lam Pok filed an appeal against the election results.

Lee was accused of printing and distributing election promotional materials which claimed that he had the support of International Relations scholar Simon Shen and former legislator Lau Siu-lai before obtaining written permission.

He won 1,936 votes to defeat his opponent by 170 votes as part of a sweeping victory for the pro-democracy camp in the elections held in November 2019 amid widespread anti-government protests. Overall, pro-democracy candidates won 388 out of 479 seats.

The 27-year-old said he had decided to give up on his appeal to the Court of Final Appeal “after studying carefully the legal opinion and social situation.”

“The appeal procedure is costly, such resources should really be used more directly in supporting other people who are oppressed,” Lee said on Facebook. “Furthermore, even if the appeal was successful, I cannot guarantee that I can ‘pass’ and retain my seat after the implementation of the oath-taking law for district councillors.”

Lee also said he was sorry for not being able to complete his mission as a representative of the Hong Kong people.

“I hope that you will all take care, stick to your faith in the dark, and have each other’s back in the storm, I also hope that one day I can serve Hong Kong people again,” he said.

Lee was the second district councillor disqualified by a Hong Kong court, after Kwun Tong district councillor Hinson Hung lost a legal challenge in February this year.

‘My honour for life’

Another democrat, Kinda Li, also announced on Facebook on Monday that he had quit his seat on Kwun Tong District Council.

Li was one of the 47 democrats charged under the national security law over their organisation or participation in a primary election for the since-postponed Legislative Council election.

In the letter posted to Facebook by his team, Li, who was elected in the Hip Hong district, said that because he was still in custody, he did not know when he would be free again “to continue serving Hong Kong people.”

“Thank you all for your support for over a year, sorry that [I] cannot walk till the end, and have to hand Heep Hong back to your hands,” the letter read. “I will continue to persist on creating, to accompany Hong Kong people through long, dark nights.”

“Lastly, being a one-time representative of Hong Kong people is my honour for life,” Li wrote.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.