Pro-democracy lawmaker and barrister Alvin Yeung has warned that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s recent interference in a legislative probe could constitute a criminal act.
“Through collusion with [lawmaker] Holden Chow in private, CY Leung tried to meddle in the normal operation of this investigative committee. The act itself amounts to contempt of the legislative procedure. Further, it highly likely constitutes a criminal offence,” Yeung said on Tuesday.
The remarks came amid talk among the pro-democracy camp to impeach the embattled chief executive, who was found to have edited a document of pro-Beijing lawmaker Holden Chow in order to alter the scope of a legislative probe concerning a controversial HK$50 million payout he received from Australian firm UGL.
On Monday evening, 28 pro-democracy lawmakers submitted the drafts of two motions to impeach Leung and condemn Chow. Pro-Beijing DAB lawmaker Starry Lee said her party will not support the motion, because she considered it to be a politically motivated attack.
In response, Yeung said it would be unwise to blindly defend Leung: “Here is my message to the pro-government camp: Do not volunteer to go down with this person who is nearing the end of his term,” he said.
“[The scandal] brings shame to post-handover Hong Kong. Leung’s conduct has damaged the dignity of the legislature as well as public confidence in the legislature. We must therefore make it clear to the public that we cannot tolerate even one instance of this type of conduct.”
Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said he did not expect to complete the impeachment procedure before Leung leaves office. But Yeung urged the public not to expect defeat at this early stage.
“There may be many pro-establishment lawmakers who are upset inside, and our task now is to try to garner their support for our motion,” Yeung said.
He added that the pro-democracy camp will focus on explaining to the public their reasons and intention behind the impeachment motion.
Some have questioned the effectiveness of the legislative committee, which does not have the power to summon witnesses. However, Yeung said the committee has demonstrated its effectiveness in past instances, such as a probe involving former anti-graft commissioner Timothy Tong.
“The committee is not a toothless tiger. Maybe its teeth are not as sharp as a committee established under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance, but we are definitely sincere and confident that we will be able to accomplish something,” he said.
Meanwhile, lawmaker Claudia Mo criticised Leung for suggesting that the pan-democrats were abusing their power to investigate the UGL payout.
“If we are to talk about abuse, Leung is the one who abused his power as chief executive – he blatantly gave order to lawmakers,” she said.
The pro-Beijing camp has yet to take a unified stand over the matter. Though the DAB – the city’s largest political party – stood firm on defending Leung and Chow, a number of pro-Beijing veteran politicians have criticised them for disrespecting the role of the legislature to monitor the government.
Cheng Chung-tai of localist Civic Passion and medical sector lawmaker Pierre Chan Pui-yin joined 26 pan-democrats in submitting the motions on Monday. The camp said earlier that it hopes to discuss the two motions at the legislature on June 7 at the earliest.