A Cheung Chau elderly resident has said that he is suing Legislative Council President Andrew Leung for the greater good of society even if it might make him go bankrupt.
Kwok Cheuk-kin, nicknamed the “king of judicial review” for his numerous attempts to sue the government over issues which he considers to be unjust, filed a lawsuit against Leung in the High Court on Monday over the legislature’s oath row.
The 78-year-old argued that Leung had “failed in public duty” by refusing to hire lawyers for pro-democracy lawmakers “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu, whose oaths have been challenged by Chief Executive Leung Chung-ying and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen by way of judicial review.
Last month, the High Court postponed its handling of the judicial review, after three of the four lawmakers appeared in court without legal representatives. All of them have applied for legal aid and are awaiting approval. It will now be heard in February.
Kwok argued in his application that it is unfair that the four lawmakers do not receive legal assistance from the legislature’s president, while Leung Chung-ying is allowed to take on three barristers using public money in Kwok’s judicial review challenge against the city’s leader.
He told HKFP that he had applied for legal aid for the judicial review challenge, but he expected it to be rejected by the Legal Aid Department. If Kwok presses on with the challenge without legal aid, he will likely be asked to pay for Leung’s legal costs if he loses.
“I will go ahead with the lawsuit regardless,” Kwok said. “I don’t mind going bankrupt. It may be even better, since I would not be required to produce income records for filing judicial review challenges in the future if I lost [and went bankrupt].”
“I am old, so it’s okay. I am sacrificing myself for the four lawmakers and for the greater good of society.”
Kwok said he had heard a rumour from some lawyers that the government is determined to defeat him in the ongoing lawsuits and cause him to go bankrupt.
Three of the four lawmakers – Lau, Yiu and Leung Kwok-hung – have requested that the legislature pay the legal costs of their legal proceedings, Andrew Leung said on Monday.
But Leung said the legislature would not cough up. He said the Legislative Council Commission’s policy is that legal costs of lawmakers would only be potentially covered by LegCo if the judicial proceedings arose from their discharge of LegCo duties, but it was not the case for the embattled lawmakers.
Kwok is awaiting the court’s decision over his judicial review challenge against incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying, who omitted one instance of “Hong Kong” in his oath taken in 2012. He said his request for legal aid was rejected, which means that he could be asked to pay for the government’s legal costs should he lose the case.
The court said it might hand down a ruling this week.