Three more judicial review bids have been filed against the controversial joint checkpoint arrangement for the upcoming high-speed rail.
On Thursday, ousted lawmaker Baggio Leung filed the first legal challenge, before ex-lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung filed a separate one on the same day. On Friday, Neo Democrats party member Jeff Ku as well as activist – and “King of Judicial Review” – Kwok Cheuk-kin submitted two more judicial review applications.
The pro-democracy camp, as well as the Hong Kong Bar Association, have described the legislative bill as unconstitutional, as Hong Kong will effectively give up its jurisdiction across a quarter of the West Kowloon terminus, where immigration and customs procedures will be performed by mainland law enforcement agents.
Judicial reviews are considered by the Court of First Instance and examine the decision-making processes of administrative bodies. Issues under review must be shown to affect the wider public interest. All four legal challenges claimed the arrangement was unconstitutional.
The joint checkpoint mechanism was gazetted on Friday and became part of Hong Kong law. But its date of effect is to be decided by the secretary for transport and housing, and announced through the official gazette at a later date.
Leung Kwok-hung applied for legal aid from the government on Friday.
He said the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress had not explained which article of the Basic Law it was relying on, when allowing Hong Kong to give away its jurisdiction to the mainland.
But he said the current situation was special because the pro-Beijing media have often claimed Hong Kong courts should not take this case, and the Legal Aid Department should not approve the applications.
“This is intended to put pressure on the authorities,” Leung said. “I hope the insults and threats from the pro-Beijing media will not work.”
Asked about a potential interpretation of the Basic Law by Beijing in order to win the case, Leung said the Standing Committee should not issue interpretations anytime it likes.
He said it should only issue one when the Court of Final Appeal requests one, before it is about to make an irreversible judgment.
Ku said the Basic Law – Hong Kong’s de facto constitution – did not authorise the government to lease any of Hong Kong’s land to the mainland where mainland laws were exercised.
He said he had applied for legal aid and said a judicial review was the final means to stop the government from “acting recklessly.”