Shiu's fate as a lawmaker hangs in the airTop News | Cindy Wan 25 Apr 2019
The fate of Shiu Ka-chun as a lawmaker is hanging in the air after he is sentenced to eight months in prison.
His jail term also robbed him off qualification to stand for the next Legislative Council election in 2020.
Article 79 of the Basic Law says a lawmaker could lose his seat if he is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for one month or more due to a criminal offense, and a motion to relieve him of his duties is passed by two-thirds of present lawmakers.
The Legislative Council now has a total of 69 lawmakers, including 43 from the pro-establishment camp and 26 from the pro-democracy camp.
Since both Shiu and Tanya Chan cannot attend the voting and President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen would not vote, there should be at least 45 votes from the remaining 67 present lawmakers to pass the motion.
Claudia Mo Man-ching, convener of the pro-democracy camp, said there should be enough votes to defend Shiu's seat.
However, despite of the camp's support, Shiu is still in danger of losing his seat as he won't be able to attend meetings.
Article 79 also says a lawmaker is no longer qualified for office if he is absent from meetings for three consecutive months with no valid reason and without the consent of the president.
Asked about the issue yesterday, Leung promised he would not vote if a motion to relieve Shiu came up.
He said he will handle any such motion with caution, as it may attract legal challenges. He will follow the law and take reference from legislative bodies of other regions.
Moreover, Article 39 of the Legislative Council Ordinance says anyone who is sentenced to a jail term exceeding three months without the option of a fine is not allowed to run in any election within five years of the date of his conviction. That means Shiu will not be able to run in the 2020 election.
Depending on her sentencing on June 10, lawmaker Chan who was convicted, could face the same scenario.
Shiu's qualification as a registered social worker may also be challenged - complaints could be referred to a disciplinary committee of the Social Workers Registration Board.
Benny Tai's position as an associate law professor at the University of Hong Kong is also in doubt, as the University of Hong Kong Ordinance allows the university's council to appoint a disciplinary committee to hear about Tai's conviction and explanation.