Flag-row lawmaker in danger of sacking vote

Local | Phoenix Un 12 Apr 2018

Lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai is at risk of being disqualified as the Legislative Council investigation committee has recommended censuring him for putting the national and SAR flags upside down.

Legco still needs to vote on whether to censure Cheng, which could occur on May 9, and Cheng might be sacked if two thirds of the legislators present agreed.

Cheng reversed the flags in the chamber during a meeting on October 19, 2016, when the Youngspiration duo of Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching were scheduled to take their oaths again.

The committee, which consists of seven members from the pro-establishment camp, made the decision after eight meetings, including two closed-door hearings, where seven witnesses testified.

Its chairwoman, Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, said the committee unanimously agreed that Cheng should be censured as his actions were a breach of oath and misbehavior under Basic Law Article 79(7).

"Dr Cheng's humiliation of those flags indicated that he did not manifest an intention to genuinely and faithfully accept and commit himself to honor the pledges of upholding Basic Law and bearing allegiance to HKSAR of the People's Republic of China," Leung said.

She also said the public is highly concerned about the solemnity and validity of the oaths legislators take.

Leung said the committee had repeatedly invited Cheng to testify but he refused to do so.

She also said she would provide the facts to the opposition camp, but whether they voted for Cheng to be censured would be up to them.

"Whether the opposition will shield Cheng will be the choice of legislators."

In response, Cheng said the report showed that the pro-establishment sector has been politically persecuting him since he became a legislator in 2016.

"I did that [inverting the flags] because I didn't agree with them in initiating a meeting adjournment while placing flags on their desks. I believe deserting the flags is not really patriotism," Cheng said.

Cheng also said he will send letters to all legislators to remind them to vote, but insisted that he will not lobby for the pan-democrats to vote against censuring him.

Cheng was found guilty in Eastern Magistrates' Courts in September of inverting the flags and fined HK$5,000.

Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said his party is against the motion and would vote against it.

"Any punishment of legislators should be done by voters," he said.

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