Comparison to insurgents fires up debate

Top News | Sum Lok-kei 8 Dec 2017

The pan-democrats were yesterday compared to insurgents by a pro-Beijing lawmaker.

The remark, which drew an instant rebuke, came during the Legislative Council's first meeting to debate changes to its Rules of Procedure.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun was the first to move a motion at 3pm to amend the Rules of Procedure.

"Today, the opposition camp's filibustering is 'Taliban-like' it is unacceptable," Tse said.

He said the "healthy" way to filibuster is to give the public more time to understand important bills before they are put to a vote. But the pan-democrats have used the tactic too frequently.

The Land Justice League's Eddie Chu Hoi-dick described Tse's remark as insulting, while Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu demanded a clarification from Tse.

Tse said his remark was meant to describe the act of filibustering and was not directed against any specific lawmaker.

Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu moved to adjourn the debate at 3.30pm.

Yeung accused Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen of aiding the pro-establishment camp in its bid to force through the amendments.

People Power's Raymond Chan Chi-chuen supported Yeung's motion and said it was impossible to discuss all the amendments with just 15 minutes left to tackle them.

At 6.20pm, six pro-democracy lawmakers rushed toward the chairman's seat, prompting a pause in the meeting twice. The session was adjourned at 7.51pm. Some pan-democrats were escorted back to their seats by security staff.

The debate will resume next Wednesday. Leung said the meeting was not ideal, adding he understood opposition to the amendments.

Before the debate began at noon, Leung suspended the meeting for two hours to allow the two sides to negotiate.

The pause came after pan-democrats chanted slogans inside the chamber in protest to the amendments. The pro-establishment camp rejected the pan-democrats' request.

The pan-democrats asked Leung to separate the debate on the 12 proposed resolutions and extend the time allotted for their discussion from 15 to 210 minutes.

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said the proposal can extend the time needed to process the amendments to 88 hours.

He said the request is reasonable and the amendments could be processed in about five weeks.

Pro-establishment camp veteran Martin Liao Cheung-kong said the proposal was unacceptable.

Starry Lee Wai-king of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said pan-democrats wanted to use up the time for the meeting to stop the amendments from being put to the vote.

Groups for and against amending the Rules of Procedure held protests outside the building last night.

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