Hong Kong has disqualified ten more pro-democracy district councillors after they took their pledges of allegiance to the government last week.

The ten councillors from the Yau Tsim Mong, Sham Shiu Po, Kowloon, Wong Tai Sin, and Kwun Tong districts were ousted after the government ruled their oaths were not valid on Wednesday, without providing further explanation.

(L to R) Suzanne Wu Sui-shan, James To Kun-sun, Douglas Tsang Tsz-ming, Chu Kong-wai, Lawrence Lau Wai-chung, Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, Kwok Tin-lap, Pius Yum Kwok-tung, Sean Mock Ho-chit, and Edith Leung Yik-ting.

The group included the Democratic Party Vice-chair Edith Leung, former lawmaker James To, Umbrella Movement activist Ken Tsang, and the defence counsel for the city’s first national security law trial Lawrence Lau. The barrister is also among the 47 defendants facing national security charges over the democrats’ informal primaries – he is currently out on bail.

YouTube video

The ten had been among 55 councillors who took their oaths of allegiance to the government last Friday. The government had requested “more information” from the ten councillors following their oaths, owing to “doubts” over their validity.

Councillors who were ousted – click to view

Yau Tsim Mong District Council

  1. Ms Wu Sui-shan
  2. Mr To Kun-sun, James
  3. Mr Tsang Tsz-ming
  4. Mr Chu Kong-wai

Sham Shui Po District Council

  1. Mr Lau Wai-chung

Kowloon City District Council

  1. Mr Tsang Kin-chiu
  2. Mr Kwok Tin-lap
  3. Mr Yum Kwok-tung, Pius

Wong Tai Sin District Council       

  1. Mr Mock Ho-chit, Sean

Kwun Tong District Council   

  1. Ms Leung Yik-ting, Edith

It comes after seven district councillors from Hong Kong island were ousted from their offices earlier this month after their oaths were similarly deemed “invalid.”

District councillors oath The oath-taking ceremony was administered by Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui
The oath-taking ceremony was administered by Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui. Photo: GovHK.

The government introduced mandatory oaths of allegiances for the city’s local-level councillors earlier this year, after requiring all civil servants to take the same pledge shortly after Beijing’s passing of the national security law last summer.

The introduction of the oaths, and the ensuing rumours that salary and benefits will be recouped from up to 200 councillors who faced disqualification, prompted over 100 to resign ahead of the ceremonies.

The oaths are being administered in separate rounds according to neighbourhoods. The third round of oaths for districts in the North, Tai Po, Sai Kung and Sha Tin will take place next Monday.

‘Better this way’

Some of the councillors took to social media to send messages to their constituents after their ousting.

“Sorry for letting everyone down,” Douglas Tsang wrote on Facebook on Wednesday following the announcement.

“It is expected. It is better this way, I can get out of this earlier,” another councillor, Chu Kong-wai, posted on Thursday.

The Democratic Party’s Vice-chair, Leung, announced she will be meeting her constituents to say goodbye and thank them for their support, and give out free items from her office on Friday.

The democratic camp won the November 2019 elections by an overwhelming majority, and were seen as the opposition’s last foothold after lawmakers stepped down from the legislature last year in protest at the disqualification of four of their colleagues.

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Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.