The last one not standing: Cheng Chung-tai kicked out of LegCo

Local | 26 Aug 2021 4:47 pm

Lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai has been disqualified by a vetting committee established in Hong Kong following electoral changes, and loses his seat with immediate effect. 

Before the disqualification, he was considered the last remaining opposition lawmaker after others resigned en masse. 

Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu said the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee has completed assessing and validating the eligibility of candidates in the Election Committee, whose members are responsible for electing the city's Chief Executive and 40 Legislative Council members. 

Cheng had wanted to join the Election Committee as a lawmaker. But he has been disqualified, Lee announced this afternoon – making him the first person not to meet the cut after the vetting committee was established. 

According to Lee, Cheng was requested to submit details and explanations over certain incidents. Upon receiving the information from Cheng, the vetting committee then sought advice from the Committee for Safeguarding National Security – Hong Kong's highest body overseeing national security issues chaired by the CE. 

The body then determined Cheng did not fulfill the requirements of upholding the Basic Law and pledging allegiance to the SAR government. The vetting committee proceeded to disqualify him. 

He was also disqualified as a lawmaker member with immediate effect.

Asked if Cheng is disqualified due to his previous case of inverting national flags at Legislative Council, Lee said he would not go into details. 

“Some people pretend to pledge allegiance to the SAR and the Basic Law. We won't believe in them... scammers are best at playing multiple roles for their benefits,” Lee said.

Another person was also disqualified, but details was not announced in the press conference.

Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Cheng said the vetting committee asked him about the books he wrote and remarks he made. It also asked about his inverting national flags in 2016.

He found the disqualification "regrettable", and said it seems weird that the vetting committee can disqualify a lawmaker near the end of his term.

He said he should fulfill requirement of being a patriot and Hong Kong lover, just like fellow lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu.

“Of course I consider myself as an eligible candidate. To put it simply, if the council can tolerate someone like Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, I definitely think I fulfill the requirements of upholding the Basic Law and bearing allegiance to SAR government, as well as that of being a patriot and a Hong Kong lover,” said Cheng.

Cheng is the only lawmaker who voted against a bill that introduces municipal waste charging into Hong Kong this morning.

In October 2016, pro-establishment lawmakers left Legislative Council's chamber to stop Youngspiration's Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching from taking their oaths as lawmakers. The two held a flag saying “Hong Kong is not China”.

When the lawmakers were away, Cheng inverted the national and SAR flags they put on their desks. He was fined HK$5,000 for insulting the flags later.

Cheng was also challenged about “abetting” protesters who broke into the LegCo building on July 1, 2019.

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