Bill advances - even after lawmaker creates a stink

Top News | Sophie Hui 29 May 2020

A foul-smelling plant thrown by a lawmaker halted yesterday's Legislative Council discussion on the national anthem bill.

Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung tried lobbing a white bag containing the rotting plant toward Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen but was stopped by security guards.

The bag fell to the floor and emitted a foul smell that quickly spread throughout the chamber.

Pro-establishment lawmaker Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan was sent to hospital after throwing up several times.

Her team later said on Facebook that Chan was sickened by the stench, causing her to vomit repeatedly, and felt discomfort in her eyes and skin.

Yeung Kai-wang, Hong Kong Central's acting divisional commander for the Fire Services Department, said carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide were detected from the item.

"If a person inhales a large amount of such chemicals, it may harm the respiratory system," he said.

But he said the level of chemicals found in the chamber were lower than 20 parts per million, with at least 50 ppm being hazardous.

Hui said he had intended to give Leung a taste of "rotten" Hong Kong.

The meeting resumed at 4pm after the smell dissipated, with Legco passing the second reading of the bill last night.

The stench incident occurred at around 10.47am when Hui sprang from his seat and ran to the president's podium while holding the bag.

But he was stopped by guards, with a brown substance spilling from a plastic bottle in the bag onto the floor.

Leung ordered Hui to leave the chamber - saying he has thrown an unknown dangerous item - and suspended the meeting.

Several guards removed Hui from the chamber.

Other lawmakers stood up and sought to check the bag's content, while others suspected it was feces.

Guards covered the bag with a cloth and sprayed air freshener to try and clear the smell. One guard took away the bag as police and firefighters were called to the chamber.

The force has classified the case as a request for police assistance and no one has been arrested so far.

Acting deputy district commander of Central District, Liauw Ka-kei, said police will collect all evidence from the scene and conduct an examination to confirm the substance.

"We will conduct a thorough investigation to check whether there is any criminal element in this whole incident," he said. "If there is, police will take action resolutely."

Hui told reporters that the item was a plant that rotted two days ago.

Police and firemen had been previously called to investigate after it emitted a smell on the ninth floor of the Legco building.

Hui said he wanted to use it as a prop to protest against Leung for his abuse of power by not allowing pan-democratic lawmakers to speak in the meeting and let him "feel and smell what a rotten thing is like."

He added: "The rotten thing is one country, two systems. The rotten thing is the rule of law, the rotten thing is our Hong Kong values.

"Unfortunately, [the rotten plant landed on the floor] because I was hit by security guards."

Leung said Hui's behavior was irresponsible, adding he was disappointed as it would affect the reputation and public expectation of Legco.

The bill's third reading is set for Wednesday and Thursday.

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