Disqualified lawmakers Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching missed the deadline on Tuesday to return the salaries and expenses they had received, Apple Daily reports.
The localist duo said they are both prepared to declare bankruptcy, but that would mean they could not run for public office again.
Leung and Yau were ejected from the legislature after Beijing handed down an interpretation of the Basic Law pertaining to the oaths of office of public officials, leading a court to rule that they never officially became lawmakers.
The Youngspiration pair, who also failed in their final legal appeal against their disqualifications last month, were asked to pay back a total of HK$1.86 million in wages and subsidies given to them since they assumed office.
Writing to the LegCo Commission before the deadline passed, Leung and Yau said requiring them to pay back the wages was not reasonable and suggested that they return all the office equipment they had bought, including the receipts, to offset the amount.
They said they had been formally accepted by the Hong Kong government as lawmakers last September and had only lost their positions starting from Oct. 12, 2016, and as such any wages they had received before that date should be rightfully theirs and not included in the amount they were being asked to return.
They also said the subsidies were a one-off sum given to lawmakers to buy office equipment and cover the salaries of their assistants.
“Even if my status as a lawmaker was violently removed by the government using unjust means, the expenses should not be included in the amount to be paid back,” they said in one of the letters.
The two urged LegCo to be fair and consider their case carefully in order to defend preserve what is left of the dignity of Hong Kong’s law and order.
The LegCo Secretariat said if the two failed to return the money by Tuesday, the LegCo Commission, an administrative body consisting of lawmakers, would take legal action.
If the case goes to court and the duo are unable or unwilling to pay, they may have to declare bankruptcy. Individuals subject to a bankruptcy order cannot run for public office.
Legislator Gary Chan Hak-kan, a member of the commission, said the two sent the letters to delay the return of the funds.
Leung earlier said aside from the wages and subsidies, he also had to pay lawyer’s fees and legal costs estimated at HK$12 million.
– Contact us at [email protected]