Sat, Aug 26, 2017 - Page 1 News List

HK court dismisses pro-independence lawmakers’ appeal

Reuters, HONG KONG

Pro-independence activists Sixtus “Baggio” Leung, center left, and Yau Wai-ching, center right, speak to reporters outside the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Hong Kong’s highest court yesterday dismissed an appeal by two pro-independence lawmakers contesting their disqualification from the legislature, effectively ruling out their return to the political fold in the territory.

The Chinese National People’s Congress last year made a controversial interpretation of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution that effectively barred Sixtus “Baggio” Leung (梁頌恆) and Yau Wai-ching (游蕙禎) from taking office.

A Hong Kong court ruled they had not taken their oaths of office properly after inserting several digs at China. Last month, four other pro-democracy lawmakers were disqualified for improper oath-taking.

Leung and Yau said they were “deeply disappointed” by the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal’s decision after being democratically elected.

“We can be disqualified, we can even be put into jail ... but the Hong Kong people’s aspirations for freedom and democracy, fair[ness] and justice should never, never bow to Beijing,” Leung told reporters outside the court.

With Leung and Yau not taking back their legislative posts, authorities said they would start planning by-elections to fill the two vacant seats in the territory’s 70-seat Legislative Council.

“We won’t make any small political moves to achieve certain election results. It will be fair and just,” Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) said.

Leung and Yau also face separate unlawful assembly charges over an attempt to barge into a Legislative Council meeting in November last year, which could lead to jail terms when they are sentenced later this year.

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