The administrator of Hong Kong’s legislature will investigate claims from earlier this month that its employees were being filtered by political affiliations.
Members of the Legislative Council Commission decided on Monday that it would first ask the secretariat to gather information internally and file a written report, before taking any further steps.
On May 10, a security guard surnamed Wong said she was asked to fill in a form stating whether she was “yellow” or “blue” – referring to colours symbolising the pro-democracy and pro-Beijing camps.
The embattled LegCo secretariat had already been facing accusations of political bias, with the pro-democracy camp objecting to its decision to endorse rival lawmaker Abraham Shek as the head of the committee scrutinising the extradition bill.
Lawmaker Jeremy Tam, who appeared alongside the employee, said at the time that the incident showed that the legislature’s administrators were not as neutral as they claimed. The matter was discussed at a Commission meeting on Monday, as the body is charged with supervising the secretariat.
Legislative Council President Andrew Leung, who also chaired the Commission, said after the meeting that the allegations were “serious” and Tam would need to provide more information, such as the names of the people involved.
Leung added that there was no evidence at this stage pointing to the head of the secretariat Kenneth Chen.
Speaking after the meeting, Tam said that Leung had originally tried to appoint a three-person panel to investigate the incident, led by pro-Beijing lawmaker Wong Ting-kwong.
“The meeting had just begun, and Andrew Leung already asked Wong Ting-kwong to chair [the panel]. What is there to investigate then?” he said. Tam noted that the 13-member Commission had nine members with pro-Beijing backgrounds, meaning that it was difficult for it to establish an independent panel.
Leung later relented and accepted Tam’s suggestions of having the secretariat first submit a report.
Asked if he would provide more evidence to support his claims, Tam said he had to protect the parties involved, and he would not let the witness appear unless he received some kind of guarantee.
Tam added that the secretariat should have no problem identifying the security guard Wong, since she previously wrote multiple complaint letters to her employer. “It is ridiculous that [the secretariat] has not submitted a single piece of paper yet,” he said.
LegCo security loophole
Separately, LegCo president Leung addressed the chaotic scenes at the legislature last week, saying that the extradition bill controversy revealed “security loopholes” at the complex. He said that he had already called on the secretariat to review its measures to ensure the safety of the building’s users.
Any such measures will not restrict the media’s reporting, Leung added. As for a complaint from the Hong Kong Journalists Association that reporters were blocked from doing their jobs, Leung said it will be handled by the legislature’s secretariat.
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