Lawmaker kicked out over trash jab

Top News | Phoenix Un 18 Apr 2019

A bills committee to discuss the fugitive-law amendment has failed to elect a chairman at its first meeting after the pro-democracy camp came up with a new filibustering tactic.

Democrat James To Kun-sun, who chaired the meeting temporarily, expelled Aron Kwok Wai-keung after the Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker asked him "not to behave like trash."

Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu called the failure disappointing and regrettable, saying there is an urgent need to pass the amendment.

To, the most experienced lawmaker at the meeting, was tasked with chairing it before a committee chairman and vice chairman are elected.

But he allowed lawmakers to discuss whether the meeting was arranged too hastily after Democracy camp meetings convener Claudia Mo Man-ching raised the issue.

Although pro-establishment lawmakers urged To to return to the task of electing the chairman, he allowed the debate to go on, during which Kwok blurted out: "If you can hear me clearly, I am telling you not to pretend to be a piece of trash and show some dignity."

Finding the comment offensive, To asked Kwok to retract it. Kwok was removed from the meeting when he refused.

After two hours, To announced there was not enough time to elect the chairman and adjourned the meeting.

To said he presided over the meeting in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and his decision could withstand legal challenges.

Starry Lee Wai-king of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong described To's actions as "crazy filibustering."

The party will consider proposing the Rules of Procedure be amended to prevent such behavior.

Lee said he was extremely disappointed because the bill is urgent.

Separately, yesterday's Legislative Council meeting to discuss the appropriation bill adjourned at 4.30pm due to a lack of a quorum - the first time since the Rules of Procedure was amended in 2017 to stop filibustering.

Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen resumed the meeting at 6.30pm.

phoenix.un@singtaonewscorp.com

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