The chairwoman of the New People’s Party, lawmaker Regina Ip, said on Thursday that if national security laws had been enacted in Hong Kong, the controversy over the oaths of office taken by two Youngspiration legislators-elect would have been avoided.
She was among the pro-establishment legislators who staged a walk-out during the Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday to prevent Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching from retaking their oaths following their use of derogatory words at last week’s swearing-in ceremony for lawmakers. The walk-out left insufficient lawmakers to make up the required quorum, and the meeting had to be adjourned.
Ip said when national security legislation was proposed while she was the secretary for security, it was what she called "pretty lax" and may not have criminalised talks about Hong Kong breaking away from China.
But speaking to RTHK’s Mike Weeks, she said it would have at least created a criminal offence for secession.
"People like Yau and Leung may or may not be caught by the provision. But…at least we would have created the offence of secession, so that people cannot just advocate complete autonomy, real autonomy, self-determination, without falling foul of advocating secession", Ip said.
The walk-out by the pro-government legislators followed the High Court's decision on Tuesday to reject an application by the Chief Executive, CY Leung, and the Secretary for Justice, Rimsky Yuen, for an interim injunction to stop the duo from retaking their oaths.
But Ip said the walk-out had nothing to do the court case. She also said the council can carry on its other work in the meantime.