Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Democratic Party will not oppose possible probe into phone-grabbing lawmaker

Democratic Party Chair Wu Chi-wai has said the party would not oppose a vote to launch an investigation into lawmaker Ted Hui if the legislature decides to table one.

Wu previously said the party would not vote if a censure motion is tabled, but he clarified on a Commercial Radio programme on Friday that a motion to investigate Hui would come first. He said the party will not vote if the pro-Beijing camp tables a motion to investigate Hui, in order to avoid conflict of interest.

If the investigation finds it necessary to censure Hui, he could be disqualified after a vote, which would require the support of two-thirds of lawmakers present.

Wu Chi-wai

Wu Chi-wai. Photo: inmedia.hk.

The Democratic Party suspended lawmaker Ted Hui and criticised his behaviour after he snatched a phone from a civil servant in the hope of learning what government officers were doing in the legislature.

On Tuesday, Hui snatched a phone from a female government executive officer at the legislature who was tasked with checking up on the whereabouts of lawmakers. He looked through the device in a mens’ bathroom for some ten minutes.

Executive officers are responsible for administrative tasks. Those working in the Legislative Council building – commonly called by government as on marshalling duties – are often assigned to keep track of lawmakers and their whereabouts, to prevent premature adjournment of meetings and to secure enough votes.

Wu said he believed Hui’s explanation about the government “marshals” in the legislature, but he did not agree with Hui’s behaviour.

“Hui did force her to back up against a corner of a wall [when snatching the phone],” Wu said.

ted hui phone

Ted Hui. Photo: Apple Daily.

Wu said although he did not like the amount of pro-Beijing camp lawmakers – who he said may be biased – in the legislature, the Democratic Party will have to allow an investigation by refraining from voting.

“But when the investigation is completed, when we have a report, when we have all the evidence, we will make a further judgment, so that the party and the public can decide our next steps, and decide whether Ted Hui should be disqualified,” he said.

‘Shocked and angered’

Former Democratic Party chair Emily Lau publicly called for Hui to resign from the party and the legislature.

She said one of the reasons was that she believed Hui’s first apology on Wednesday was not sincere.

“After the incident, I received many opinions from the public – most of them were shocked and angered,” she said on the Commercial Radio programme. “I believe his behaviour was very out of line.”

“He already has an adult [Hong Kong] identity card – he has to think about his own future.”

emily lau

Emily Lau. Photo: Stand News.

The hosts asked Lau whether she thought the pro-Beijing camp and the government were adding fuel to the fire and setting a trap for Hui’s eventual disqualification.

“Even a literary giant couldn’t write this script,” she said. “Who told him to create a trap for himself and the party?”

She said pro-Beijing parties have also ignored problems with their own lawmakers, such as the alleged fraudulent academic qualifications of Elizabeth Quat and Wilson Or, but the Democratic Party cannot adopt the same way of handling problems.

She said Hui had sent a message to her to apologise.

Democratic Party will not oppose possible probe into phone-grabbing lawmaker