Three applications for a judicial review have been filed against the co-location bill for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Ousted lawmaker Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang of Youngspiration submitted his application to the High Court on Thursday afternoon seeking to overturn the controversial bill. He was accompanied by “the king of judicial reviews” Kwok Cheuk-kin.
The legislation, which was passed on third reading on June 14, provides for the operation of customs, immigration and quarantine facilities of Hong Kong and mainland China at the West Kowloon terminus of the Express Rail Link.
Those opposing the bill insist that the co-location arrangement violates the Basic Law and is tantamount to ceding Hong Kong territory to China.
Leung said in his application that the bill clearly contravenes nine articles of Hong Kong’s mini constitution, including Article 11 which stipulates that no law enacted by the special administrative region shall contravene the Basic Law.
Once it takes effect, Hong Kong will no doubt see part of its jurisdictional power and people’s freedom deprived, according to the petition, which names Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen as defendant.
Although the localist admitted his move might trigger another interpretation of the Basic Law by the National People’s Congress, which he said is something he cannot control, he insisted that he was doing the right thing.
The other two applications for a judicial review for the same purpose were filed by disqualified pro-democracy lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung from the League of Social Democrats and Jeff Ku Chun-hin, a member of the Neo Democrats, on Friday morning.
In his application, Leung Kwok-hung asked the High Court to declare the bill unconstitutional before the Express Rail Link begins services in the next quarter as scheduled by the government.
The Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan was named defendant.
Leung Kwok-hung insisted his move had nothing to do with the pan-democratic camp, while Baggio Leung also said he did not consult his partymates or seek any legal opinion before filing his application. Both did not apply for legal aid.
Expressing his view, Senior counsel and Executive Council member Ronny Tong Ka-wah said the main contention is whether the bill violates Article 18 of the Basic Law, which states that “the laws in force in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be this Law … National laws shall not be applied in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region except for those listed in Annex III to this Law”.
Tong believes that those seeking judicial review are very unlikely to achieve their purpose, adding that the controversy may end up requiring the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, to interpret the Basic Law.
The bill is scheduled to be gazetted on Friday and come into operation on a day to be appointed by the transport secretary through a notice published in the Gazette.
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