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HK govt: Oaths taken by 16 district councilors invalid

A district councilor (left) swears his allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and its Basic Law during a ceremony at North Point Community Hall on Oct 4, 2021. The oath-taking was administered by Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui Ying-wai (right). (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVT)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said Friday that the oaths taken by 16 district councilors were invalid.

Members of district councils in the North District, Tai Po, Sai Kung and Sha Tin swore their allegiance to the SAR and its Basic Law during a ceremony on Oct 4.

Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui Ying-wai, who administered the oath-taking, determined on that day that out of the oaths taken by 50 district councilors, 34 of them were valid.

According to Section 21 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap. 11), any person who declines or neglects to take an oath duly requested which he is required to take by relevant legislation shall, if he has already entered on his office, vacate it

“As the oath administrator had questions about the validity of the oaths taken by the other 16 DC members, letters were issued to the DC members concerned on October 4 to require them to provide additional information,” the government said in a statement.

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After considering the written replies from the 16 members and all relevant information, Tsui determined that the oaths taken by them were invalid.

The decision was based on the principles laid down by the interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and the relevant legal provisions, according to the statement.

The 16 members include Tai Po district councilors Richard Chan Chun-chit, Olive Chan Wai-ka and So Tat-leung; and Sai Kung district councilors Ryan Lee Yin-ho, Lee Ka-yui, Ricky Or Yiu-lam, and Wong Cheuk-nga.

They also include Sha Tin district councilors Li Chi-wang, Shek William, Lai Tsz-yan, Lo Tak-ming, Wong Ho-fung, Ng Kam-hung, Kudama Ng Ting-lam, Wong Hok-lai and Cheng Tsuk-man.

If the oath taken is determined as invalid, no arrangement should be made for retaking the oath. 

READ MORE: 7 HK district councilors disqualified as oaths ruled invalid

According to Section 21 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap. 11), any person who declines or neglects to take an oath duly requested which he is required to take by relevant legislation shall, if he has already entered on his office, vacate it.

The government stressed that the oath-taking is legally binding and the oath-taker must sincerely believe in and strictly abide by the relevant oath prescribed by law. 

The government also announced on Sept 30 that the last batch of councilors – from Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Kwai Tsing – will take the oath later Friday.