Hong Kong’s chief executive will appoint no fewer than two members of the Executive Council to conduct the appeal hearing related to the Hong Kong National Party, according to Regina Ip.
Ip, who is both a lawmaker and a member of the Executive Council (Exco), said on Wednesday that the appeal process is governed by law.
“I believe the process will be fair and impartial, and both sides can have their own legal representatives. [It will] fully comply with procedural fairness,” she said.
The pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) was banned over national security concerns on September 24 and later submitted an appeal. HKNP was banned under the Societies Ordinance, the first such case since the 1997 Handover.
Local media reported on Wednesday that three Exco members – Martin Liao Cheung-kong, Chow Chung-kong and Joseph Yam Chi-kwong – had been chosen to hear HKNP’s appeal.
Ip said on Wednesday that she would not be participating in the appeal process as she had previously commented on HKNP. Asked about the committee, Ip said she was not in a position to confirm names.
The Exco secretariat declined to comment.
According to the Administrative Appeal Rules, the chief executive “may appoint a committee of not less than two members of the Executive Council… to hear any appeal or class of appeals.”
Ip said that the Hong Kong government had given HKNP convener Andy Chan opportunities to make his case.
“The government has treated this matter cautiously. Exco members who previously commented on HKNP or Andy Chan would not participate [in the appeal process],” she said.
“The government also know that any appeal decision will be met with judicial review.”
Ip added that by default the oral hearing will be held behind closed doors, but HKNP’s lawyers could apply to switch to an open hearing. HKNP and Chan will also have the option of taking the matter to court if they disagreed with the Exco’s decision, she said.
In his October appeal letter, Chan demanded that eight executive council members recuse themselves.
“The last part of the appeal letter mentioned that the Chief Executive and eight executive council members had publicly commented on the case, so I requested that they recuse themselves from dealing with this appeal,” Chan told reporters at the time.