HK opposition lawmaker guilty of snatching civil servant’s phone and should be censured, finds legislature committee

10-Jul-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A Hong Kong opposition lawmaker found guilty of snatching a civil servant’s phone should be censured for misbehaviour, an investigation committee of the legislature has concluded.

But Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung is likely to survive the censure motion that follows which if passed could unseat him from the Legislative Council as the current term of the legislature ends in 10 days.

Party disciplinary panel clears lawmaker Ted Hui over phone snatch

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Hui’s political career was hit in 2018 after he grabbed the phone of senior executive officer Christina Leung Ngok-sze outside a Legco meeting and ran into a toilet with it.

She was one of the officers marshalling lawmakers into the meeting over the controversial immigration arrangements for the West Kowloon high-speed rail terminal, and Hui felt it was wrong for the government to monitor lawmakers’ whereabouts.

New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee tabled the motion one month after the 2018 incident, paving the way for the establishment of the investigation committee, which was dominated by the pro-establishment camp.

The report, released on Wednesday, found Hui guilty of misbehaviour, and said his acts were “unacceptable whenever they [took] place and whether they [were] committed by a member or an ordinary citizen”.

“[The investigation committee] considers that the allegation that Hui acted violently and showed no respect to a public officer has been substantiated and, in fact, ‘showing no respect’ is too mild an allegation,” the report said.

With both Hui and Leung refusing to give evidence for the internal investigation, the report based its findings mostly on Hui’s media interviews, in which he admitted stealing Leung’s phone, and a piece of paper listing the names and pictures of lawmakers.

Hui found the phone, which was given to Leung by the government for work purposes, had stored information relating to the whereabouts of lawmakers and some of their personal data. He said he had recorded it with a view to lodge a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data.

The report concluded that Hui had failed to fulfil the public’s expectation of a lawmaker and tarnished Legco’s reputation.

But the two opposition lawmakers on the committee, Kenneth Leung and Dennis Kwok, said they did not endorse the committee’s findings, and instead submitted a minority report on the case.

Kenneth Leung said the committee had made an error in publishing the report before the court proceedings ended, adding that the incident was not as serious as the report had depicted.

Hui, 38, was sentenced to 240 hours of community service and fined HK$3,800 (US$490) by a court last year over allegations of common assault, obstructing a public officer and obtaining access to a computer with dishonest intent.

He denied committing any criminal offences, saying he was only trying to expose the government’s “paparazzi-like” tactics in scrutinising lawmakers. He has lodged an appeal against the conviction in the High Court, which will hear the application on October 13.

Pro-establishment lawmaker Alice Mak Mei-kuen, of the Federation of Trade Unions, who chaired the committee, said it would be up to Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen to decide whether to prioritise the motion in the remaining meetings before the legislature was prorogued on July 18.

“We are regretful if any motions cannot be dealt with before the term ends,” Mak said.

But Hui’s seat still appeared to be safe even if such a censure motion were to be put to a vote.

The pro-establishment camp currently makes up 42 of Legco’s 66 members, two short of the required number to reach the two-thirds majority vote.

In response, Hui said the set-up of the committee was part of what he called “systematic violence” that harmed the legislature’s reputation.

He did not respond to queries as to whether he was concerned about being booted out, adding: “I think people know what [is] right or wrong. It’s in their hearts.”

Hui survived disciplinary action by his party earlier this year, but had been subjected to internal condemnation, according to Democratic Party chair Wu Chi-wai.

Hui is currently representing the party in the opposition camp’s primary elections to be held this weekend, ahead of the September polls.


Category: Hong Kong

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