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Tuesday, November 8, 2016, 14:08

Separatist duo barred from LegCo meeting

By Luis Liu

HONG KONG – The two separatist lawmakers-elect involved in the oath-taking scandal will not be allowed to attend the Legislative Council meeting today (Wednesday), the legislature’s internal supervisory body ruled on Tuesday.

And 13 of the pair’s assistants are banned from entering the council complex with immediate effect on Tuesday for safety reasons. This is because they initiated a violent clash when trying to help the pair storm a meeting last week.

The decision was made by the LegCo Commission, which supervises the operation of the council’s secretariat.

The decision, made by the Legislative Council Commission, is effective immediately

Last Wednesday, lawmakers-elect Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching tried to disrupt a council meeting with their assistants. This was despite council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen’s ruling not to allow the pair to enter the chamber. Six security staff were injured during the resulting melee.

On Monday, Beijing adopted an interpretation of the Hong Kong’s constitutional document – the Basic Law to clarify legal requirements for high-level public officers to get sworn-in to office.

Speaking after the LegCo commission meeting on Tuesday, Andrew Leung, who is also chairman of the LegCo Commission, said security staff would take appropriate action to keep the lawmakers out of the chamber and to make sure their assistants cannot force their way into the building.

The commission also condemned the pair and their assistants. They urged other lawmakers who had helped them to stop interfering with the work of LegCo staff trying to maintain order in the building.

From today, assistants to all lawmakers cannot go to the meeting room floors when meetings of the council, the House Committee and the Finance Committee take place.

Any documents will need to be delivered via dispatch service staff, according to Andrew Leung. The LegCo Secretariat will also strengthen crowd control in the building, he added.

However, the pair’s assistants did not cooperate as some were not seen leaving the building. Outside her office, Yau refused to disclose whether any of her or Sixtus Leung’s assistants were still in the building. She said this was to “protect their safety”. A few of their assistants were believed to be planning to stay inside overnight to avoid being barred from the building.

The pair, who altered the text and used foul language to insult the Chinese nation while taking the oath of office on Oct 12, have paralyzed LegCo’s normal operations for two consecutive weeks. They are facing a judicial review sought by the Department of Justice on their qualifications to perform as lawmakers.

At a separate occasion, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government has not made any arrangements for by-elections to fill the position that may left vacant if any lawmaker is to be disqualified after the Basic Law interpretation was issued. If there is court ruling that leads to a vacancy in LegCo, a by-election will follow.

Meanwhile, Leung did not rule out possibilities that other lawmakers may face judicial reviews over the validity of their oath-taking.
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