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Monday, December 19, 2016, 22:05

LegCo chief: Public money must be returned


LegCo chief: Public money must be returned
Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, president of the Legislative Council, said LegCo will spare no effort to recover the public money paid in remuneration and allowances to two lawmakers-elect who were disqualified last month. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)
HONG KONG – The Legislative Council (LegCo) Secretariat did not receive any repayments of the remuneration and allowances from the two lawmakers-elect disqualified last month until Dec 19, the due date, the LegCo president said.

LegCo will spare no effort to recover the public money, LegCo President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen stressed.

Since public money was involved in the matter, the LegCo will take it very seriously

Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, President, Legislative Council

Leung said LegCo may seek legal action against them if they do not respond to their request. A final decision will be confirmed next month as the LegCo Commission will meet to discuss the matter.

The separatist duo Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang , who used derogatory language insulting the Chinese nation during the swearing-in ceremony on Oct 12, have been asked to return some HK$1.9 million in total they had claimed in advance. The deadline for repayment is Dec 19.

The LegCo Commission decided after a three-hour closed-door meeting on Nov 24 to demand the pair return the money received. This came after the city's High Court on Nov 15 ruled that the pair should vacate their seats after they violated the Basic Law and the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance.

The LegCo Secretariat will issue a new letter to the pair on Tuesday, according to Andrew Leung.

"Since public money was involved in the matter, the LegCo will take it very seriously," he said.

READ MORE: Duo lose appeal against disqualification

Sixtus Leung has spent HK$300,000 of the money he claimed on purchasing five mobile devices and 11 computers, according to the receipts he provided. Yau hasn’t provided any receipts. And neither of them has returned the LegCo Complex pass and door keys to their offices.

The LegCo Secretariat had only managed to leave a message on Sixtus Leung's phone as it could not get through to him, while Yau's phone is already out of service.

Deputy Chairperson of the LegCo Commission Starry Lee Wai-king said the two should return the salaries and costs they had claimed as soon as possible.

She said that no corresponding entitlements shall be enjoyed by the two, as they had failed to validly take the oath, according to the recent interpretation on Article 104 of the Basic Law by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

"Besides, the court ruling, which has disqualified the pair as lawmakers, is clear to understand,” she said. "The commission has a duty to safeguard the public money."

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