Legco begins talks on impeachment motion

Local | Staff reporters 5 Dec 2019

A motion debate on impeaching Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor started at Legislative Council yesterday, five months after the motion was submitted to the council in July.

It was initiated by 25 pan-democratic lawmakers and charged Lam with serious breach of law and/or dereliction of duty.

According to Article 73 of the Basic Law, if a motion initiated jointly by one-fourth of all Legco members charges the chief executive with serious breach of law or dereliction of duty and if he or she refuses to resign, the legislature may, after passing a motion for investigation, give a mandate to the chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal to form and chair an independent investigation committee.

The committee shall be responsible for carrying out the investigation and reporting its findings to Legco. If the committee considers the evidence sufficient to substantiate such charges, the Legco may pass a motion of impeachment by a two-thirds majority and report it to the central government for decision.

Pan-democrats said Lam ignored mainstream opposing views, "unrelentingly pushed through" the highly controversial fugitive bill and caused a rift in society.

They also slammed the use of excessive force to crack down on peaceful assemblies on June 10 and June 12, as well as intimidation of protesters with disproportionate criminal charges.

Civic Party lawmaker Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, who represents the pan-democrats, said Lam has created more damage to Hong Kong during the months after the motion was submitted and encouraged police to indiscriminately arrest people.

Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said the motion was a solemn procedure under the constitution and not a political tool to be used by lawmakers.

He admitted the government has room for improvement but defended Lam's administration.

"Every decision she made was legal and constitutional," he said. "The accusations made by lawmakers are false and groundless claims."

He called for lawmakers to veto the motion.

"She has apologized for controversies derived from the fugitive law. She has shown a sense of responsibility," Cheung said.

"On the other hand, rioters conducted violent and illegal actions with the intention of and plans to disrupt public order. It's necessary and appropriate for police to use force."

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