The Legislative Council has decided to take ousted lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung to court to try to claw back almost HK$3 million in salary payments and expenses he received, despite earlier heeding government advice to drop the request for the money.
Legco Commission chairman Andrew Leung said while three other disqualified councillors – Nathan Law, Edward Yiu and Lau Siu-lai – had all struck a deal to repay a portion of the funds, Leung Kwok-hung had not even replied to Legco's enquiries.
"I have not ignored the government's proposal, don't put words in my mouth," Andrew Leung told reporters.
"Mr Leung did not even respond to any of our offers and it's up to the commission to decide what to do no next. If we do nothing, that means from now on all the commission's decisions will only be a paper tiger," he said.
"We have got no choice but to make clear our offer was genuine, if you don't accept our offer we have no choice but to choose legal action to recover all the money."
Leung Kwok-hung said he was still in the process of appealing against his disqualification, so he couldn't understand why Legco expected him to pay anything back at this stage.
Law, Yiu and Lau were also originally asked to pay back around HK$3 million each following their disqualifications over the 2016 oath-taking saga. But last month, they were told they would only have to return operating funds given in advance, some prepaid expenses, and capital items such as mobile phones and laptops.
The same deal was also offered to Leung Kowk-hung – popularly known as Longhair – with the costs involved put at between HK$190,000 and HK$310,000 per person.
Members of the Legco Commission said they did not want to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers' money fighting a court case to reclaim the money.
The four had spent around nine months working as legislators before the High Court ruled in July last year that they had not been successfully sworn-in.