Disqualified lawmakers Nathan Law and Edward Yiu wrote to the Legislative Council on Friday asking it to abandon its demand that they return all of their salaries and operating expenses.
In a letter from their lawyers, Law and Yiu said the refund claim “will certainly be met with vigorous resistance in Court and in such event you can anticipate that the total legal costs that may be incurred by both parties will indeed be very substantial.”
They added that if the claim for refund is pursued through legal avenues, it will trigger a public outcry and social divisiveness.
Along with Leung Kwok-hung and Lau Siu-lai, the four ousted lawmakers will each have to repay between HK$2.7 million and HK$3.1 million. This includes the wages of dozens of assistants they hired during their tenure.
In July, the Court of First Instance ruled that they were not considered lawmakers from October 26 last year – the day they took their oaths of office. The decision came after Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law, demanding lawmakers to take their oaths “accurately, completely and solemnly.” Each of the democratically-elected pro-democracy lawmakers altered, or added to, their oaths in protest.
The LegCo Commission previously went to court to ask two other disqualified lawmakers – Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching – to pay back HK$1.86 million wages and subsidies. Yau said she received a letter from the court, but it only said she should return the funds, without mention of any legal grounding.
Leung and Lau have filed appeals against their disqualifications. LegCo by-elections will be held next March to fill the other vacancies.
Yiu has joined the pro-democracy camp’s primary election for the Kowloon West by-election.