Cheung hails breakthrough despite chaos

Top News | Sophie Hui 11 May 2020

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung has applauded the Legislative Council's House Committee for breaking the impasse and resuming operations.

Incumbent chair Starry Lee Wai-king pressed on with a committee meeting on Friday to handle accumulated work, despite scuffles which resulted in People Power's Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, the Democratic Party's Andrew Wan Siu-kin and a member of Legco's security staff getting injured.

The fight for the chairmanship started more than an hour before the afternoon session was due to begin 2.30pm.

Lee was escorted by Legco security guards and took the seat, but legislators from the pro-democracy camp surrounded the desk, jostling and pushing with the guards and pro-establishment lawmakers.

The pan-democrats said Lee had no power to hold the meeting, and that only the Civic Party's Dennis Kwok Wing-hang - who had been presiding over the search for the committee chairman for seven months - had the power to hold the meeting.

But Lee requested the opposition lawmakers to return to their seats.

Several of them - including Chan, Wan, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Ted Hui Chi-fung, Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Jeremy Tam Man-ho, Roy Kwong Chun-yu and Wu Chi-wai - were later ejected from the meeting room.

News footage captured Chan being dragged across the floor by Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung, with the pan-democrat shouting he would call police and bring private prosecution against Kwok.

Legco's own legal adviser later said Lee had the responsibility to handle accumulated work, as the committee had yet to elect a chairman since the new Legco session opened in October.

Most pan-democrats who remained in the room walked out in protest. Lee later continued the meeting and set nine bills committees and subcommittees on subsidiary legislation.

Writing on his blog yesterday, Cheung said he is pleased to learn the impasse finally ended, enabling the scrutiny of bills and subsidiary legislation proposed by the government.

"The government will continue to fully cooperate with Legco in its work of scrutinizing laws in the council's remaining term of office," he said.

Meanwhile, Kwok called on the public to vote for pan-democrats in the Legco election so they can get 35 seats or more, giving the camp the power to veto proposed legislation.

"Right now, the government has the support in terms of the votes it needs in the legislature, and that is why they feel they can ignore the voice of Hong Kong people," Kwok said on a radio program yesterday.

He said the government withdrew the fugitive bill under pressure from the protests, but this came at a heavy price - through strong government suppression of protests.

"Therefore we must get the Hong Kong people to vote in the Legislative Council election in September to reclaim the power of veto for the Hong Kong people," he said.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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