At least 11 district councillors have quit the Civic Party before they take oaths to pledge allegiance to the SAR government and the Basic Law.
Ten of them announced their withdrawal from the pro-democracy party on their Facebooks from 6pm yesterday, without specifying the reason for leaving the party.
Among them were Tsuen Wan district council chairman Sumly Chan Yuen-sum and Yau Tsim Mong council vice chairman Yu Tak-po.
Others were Sham Shui Po councillors Andy Lao Ka-hang and Joshua Li Chun-hei, and Sha Tin councillors Luk Tsz-tung and Mak Tsz-kin.
Councillors Steve Cheung Kwan-kiu from Kwai Tsing, Antonio Luk Ling-chung from Tsuen Wan, Sarah Wong Ka-ying from Kwun Tong and Lee Ka-ho from Islands also announced their withdrawal. Another Islands councilor, Amy Yung Wing-sheung, left the party last week.
The party last night said it respected the councillors' decision, adding they were under huge pressure. The Civic Party won 32 seats in the 2019 district council elections which the pro-democracy camp won by a landslide, taking 389 out of 479 seats and controlling all but one of the 18 Hong Kong district councils.
After the withdrawals, only five district councilors are still affiliated to the party.
The mass withdrawal came after the government passed a law to require public officers including district councillors to take an oath to pledge allegiance to the SAR government and to uphold the Basic Law next month.
Meanwhile, former lawmaker Lee Wing-tat was elected as the Democratic Party's vice chairman in a special meeting yesterday as his predecessor, Lam Cheuk-ting, is remanded for subversion for his involvement in the pro-democracy primaries.
Kwai Tsing councillor Leung Kwok-wah and Wong Tai Sin councillor Cheung Mau-ching were elected as the central committee members, to replace former lawmakers Wu Chi-wai and Andrew Wan Siu-kin, who are facing subversion charges.