Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers file appeal against disqualification — But this saga could be over

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No stay of execution for disqualified Hong Kong lawmakers Leung and Yau

As it happened: appeal hearing two days after Youngspiration pair removed from seats

By Eddie LeeJeffie Lam and Tony Cheung
South China Morning Post

Thursday, November 17, 2016, 4:36 p.m.

 Yau Wai-ching (left) and Baggio Leung have appealed the decision to remove them from Legco. Photo: Sam Tsang

3:05pm – Baggio Leung says appeal will argue against Beijing ruling

The Youngspiration pair had said they would argue against Beijing’s recent ruling on oath-taking.

Asked why the argument was not in their notice of appeal, Leung says: “We will mention it in the appeal hearing… Everything happened in a hurry, and our legal team did a lot of the paperwork.

“Our principles remain the same: this is a Legco matter and we are directly elected lawmakers. Our affairs should be dealt with by Legco.”

3:04pm – Baggio Leung criticises Legco president

Speaking after the hearing, Baggio Leung says he does not agree with Andrew Leung, who had said he would take a neutral stance over the appeal.

“We [Leung and Yau] should not be the only ones defending the powers and privileges of the Legco,” he says. “The president, as part of the Legco, should also defend it.”

 Yau Wai-ching (left) and Baggio Leung will have their appeal next Thursday. Photo: Sam Tsang

3:00pm – ‘I don’t want this to become a precedent’

Speaking outside the High Court, Yau says the pair are seeking the appeal because they believe the judiciary should not interfere in Legco matters.

“I don’t want this to become a precedent, that the judiciary can override Legco matters,” she says.

Baggio Leung says the crowdfunding programme to raise millions in legal costs “has just started a few minutes ago”.

2:50pm – By-elections won’t be called soon

Hectar Pun SC, representing Baggio Leung, says there is no need to pursue the stay of execution if the Legco president promises the legislature will not gazette the vacancies before the court’s hearing next Thursday.

Andrew Leung’s legal representative Anthony Chan says Legco will not do so this week and will maintain the status quo.

The duo’s lawyers agree there is no need to pursue the stay of execution for now, upon the president’s promise.

2:40pm – Hearing ends

The hearing ends after only 10 minutes as the judges say there is no need for a stay of execution because the appeal will be heard next Thursday, and the government is unlikely to officially announce the vacation of Leung and Yau’s seats in the gazette tomorrow or next Friday.

2:32pm – Leung and Yau enter court

As the urgent hearing kicks off at the High Court’s court of appeal, Mr Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen and Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon tell the lawyers the appeal hearing will be held next Thursday morning, on November 24.

Yeung says the hearing could last half a day, and asks if the lawyers still want to ask for a stay of proceedings.

Yau Wai-Ching’s lawyer Philip Dykes says he does. He says the stay is needed to avoid the consequences of the launch of the “machinery of by-election”.

But Yeung questions that, saying the by-election will not be held in the next three or four months.

 Today’s hearing was at the High Court. Photo: Sam Tsang

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An appeal court is expected to decide this afternoon whether two pro-independence lawmakers-elect disqualified over their oath-taking antics can keep their seats until a formal appeal against their removal determines their final fate.

The urgent hearing – on a request for staying the court order in question – comes two days after the ruling against Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching. It is expected to attract the attention of local media and members of the public alike.

Anticipating a large turnout, the court has made special seating arrangements and the session is scheduled to be held in a larger room in the High Court building in Admiralty.

In their notice of appeal filed this morning, Leung and Yau asked the court to quash Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung’s ruling, arguing that he erred in determining that the non-intervention principle did not apply in their case and that the court could intervene in the Legco oath saga.

Their lawyer also argued that the judge was wrong in ruling that the duo’s acts and speeches were not immune from legal action, and that they had to vacate their office automatically once their oaths on October 12 were invalidated.

Mr Justice Wally Yeung Chun-kuen and Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon will preside over today’s hearing.

Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said Legco would send its legal representative to the hearing as well.

“After all, we respect the court’s ruling,” he said. “We would take a neutral stance on the court’s decision on whether to accept the appeal bid or not.”

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2046900/hong-kong-high-court-set-rule-whether-baggio-leung-and-yau

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HONG KONG – Two pro-democracy lawmakers who were disqualified over their improper oath taking at the legislature have applied for an appeal against the court ruling.

Mr Sixtus Leung Chung Hang and Ms Yau Wai Ching filed their appeal on Thursday morning (Nov 17). An urgent hearing would be held in the afternoon  when their lawyers are expected to apply for a stay of execution of the court orders., the South China Morning Post reported.

On Tuesday, Justice Thomas Au Hing Cheung ruled that the pair should be disqualified from the Legislative Council (Legco) for failing to take their oaths “faithfully and truthfully” last month. The judgment also bars the two from retaking their oaths.

At a swearing-in ceremony on Oct 12, the two barred lawmakers had used words insulting China and displayed a banner that read “Hong Kong is not China”.

Their oaths were invalidated and the Legco president said they could retake their oaths. The government then sought a judicial review to challenge the president’s decision to let the pair retake their oaths.

The court ruling is in line with a controversial Beijing ruling last week stating that “those who declare Hong Kong independence” have no right to run for the legislature.

Beijing’s interpretation of the city’s Basic Law, or mini-Constitution, has been seen by many Hong Kongers as undermining the city’s judicial system and eroding its autonomy, leading to large street protests in the city last week.

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