Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang failed to show up on time for a session Thursday, leading to the first adjournment since the chamber’s return from summer recess.
Tsang, who is also founding chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the largest pro-Beijing bloc in the legislature, said he had been “caught up dealing with some things in the office”, public broadcaster RTHK reports.
The session was called off after failing to achieve the required quorum.
Legco rules stipulate that the “quorum of the council and of a committee of the whole council shall be not less than one-half of all its members including the president or chairman”.
With just 34 attendees, the roll call was one member short.
The meeting was scheduled to take up anti-graft regulations and whether these should apply to the Chief Executive as well.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam had been up defending the government from accusations it has failed to keep its promises.
But her remarks were cut short when Leung Kwok-hung moved for a roll call to check if there was a quorum.
Lam later showed up at an Ocean Park event, saying she was happy to have made it because the Legco session had been cancelled.
Leung Kwok-hung said he was puzzled there was no full complement of 43 pro-Beijing legislators to back Lam and the government.
But Tsang saw Leung’s maneuver as an act of revenge by a group of lawmakers upset over earlier deliberations by the finance committee.
Leung pushed back, saying he was only trying to uphold the rules of the chamber.
Pro-Beijing lawmaker Priscilla Leung said she regretted the timing of the adjournment not long after lawmakers had come back from the summer break.
Alan Leong, leader of the Civic Party, did manage to get some fireworks going before the adjournment.
He accused Leung Chun-ying of not paying tax on HK$50 million (US$6.45 million) in confidential payments he received from Australian engineering firm UGL after he became chief executive.
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