Councillors seek court review over debate block - RTHK
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Councillors seek court review over debate block

2020-09-14 HKT 17:32
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  • Southern District Council chief Lo Kin-hei says the government official failed to do her duty by not putting police conduct on the agenda. File photo: RTHK
    Southern District Council chief Lo Kin-hei says the government official failed to do her duty by not putting police conduct on the agenda. File photo: RTHK
The head of the Southern District Council has applied for a judicial review after a Home Affairs Department worker refused to facilitate discussion about police conduct surrounding the arrest of a man with autism.

The attempt by council chairman Lo Kin-hei again highlights the acrimonious relationship between the government and local councils dominated by pro-democracy politicians.

The legal bid is linked to a refusal by a Home Affairs Department worker to arrange a discussion after councillor Tiffany Yuen requested the council to consider the man's arrest in Causeway Bay June, during an anti-government protest.

The man's family have insisted he was not a protester and had merely got off a bus in the area when he was arrested.

Lo then agreed for the matter to be put on the agenda.

But the secretary to the council, Priscilla Yip, said the issue was not something for members to deal with. She didn't circulate any relevant papers in advance of the meeting or allocate discussion time for the matter.

On the day of the meeting last summer, all the government officials walked out as councillors began discussing the arrest.

In his application for a judicial review, Lo said the secretary had failed to perform her duty.

He said the matter was clearly relevant to Southern District Council, because the arrested man was from the area, and as policing is a public service, the council is entitled to pass its views on this to the government.

Lo also said Yip had sought to usurp or limit the council’s power by failing to carry out her duties, including recording the discussions.

Lo also wanted to know whether the secretary had made her own decisions over the matter, or whether she was told what to do by the government.

The police chief, Chris Tang, appeared in a number of district council meetings in the past year and was locked in fierce discussions with councillors over policing in the wake of the protests that began last year.