Kwok Cheuk-kin, also known as the “king of judicial review,” is taking legal action after the Legislative Council demanded HK$3 million each from four disqualified lawmakers.
The Legislative Council Commission on Monday sent letters to former lawmakers Lau Siu-lai, Nathan Law, Leung Kwok-hung and Edward Yiu, asking that they repay HK$2.7 to 3.1 million each in salaries and operating expenses, as they were never legally considered lawmakers. The votes they cast at the legislature, however, will remain valid.
The four were ousted following government legal action and an interpretation of the Basic Law by Beijing, owing to protests they made during their legislative oath-taking ceremonies.
Kwok filed a judicial review with the High Court on Tuesday, seeking to invalidate the votes made by the four legislators. According to Kwok, the issues discussed in the relevant meetings should be put to a vote again.
However, should Legislative Council President Andrew Leung decide not to pursue the amounts due, it would mean that they had indeed served as lawmakers and their votes would be valid, Kwok said on Facebook.
The LegCo Commission – an administrative body which comprises mostly of pro-Beijing lawmakers – decided to send the lawmakers demand letters following a special meeting on Monday.
“Considering the legal advice, as public money is involved, it is the Commission’s duty to recover the funds,” Leung said. “According to the interpretation of the Basic Law, no entitlements shall be enjoyed if they are not lawmakers.”
Payment requests have also been made to two other lawmakers, Youngspiration’s Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching. The pair had said that they will not repay the amount, as they see “no legal basis” for doing so.
In August, Kwok filed a judicial review claiming that the justice secretary acted unfairly in using public funds to employ a lawyer for Leung Chun-ying, despite the fact Leung was only chief executive-elect at the time of his oath-swearing ceremony and not a public official.
Even though six since-ousted legislators were already in public office when they faced legal action, the Department of Justice did not hire lawyers for them with public funds nor cover their legal costs, he said.