The Legislative Council will not hold any meetings before October as the Legco building sustained serious damages after protesters against the extradition bill stormed and vandalized the place on Monday.
The Legco Commission arrived at the decision during a special meeting at the Queensway Government Offices on Thursday.
It means that Legco has effectively taken an early summer recess, which was not supposed to start until mid-July, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Before the meeting, members of the commission, including its chairman Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, who is also the Legco president, inspected the damages to the complex.
At a media briefing afterwards, Leung said “the fire safety, security and communication systems have been damaged. Most of the meeting facilities cannot function properly.”
The computer servers and hard disks in the security control room had been “taken away”, including those containing the personal information of lawmakers, their staff, government officials, journalists and the Legco Secretariat staff, Leung said.
However, it was noted that the affected servers are equipped with multi-layered security protections that cannot be easily cracked.
The Legco Secretariat has reported the matter to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data.
Leung said the commission decided that it would be difficult to find a suitable alternative venue for the council meetings and priority should be given to the restoration of the Legco complex with a view to reconvening the council meetings in October.
Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, a member of the commission, said both the pro-establishment and pan-democratic camps have reached a consensus that no meetings should be held in places other than the Legco complex to show respect for the unique constitutional position held by Legco.
Besides, relocating meetings to another venue is not feasible, Kwok said.
Leung said the red alert over Legco, which was issued on Monday, is expected to be lifted as early as next week, although certain public services in the complex will be suspended for a longer period.
While Leung was talking to reporters outside the complex, some of the bystanders taunted him before he was escorted inside the building by the Secretariat staff back after meeting the media.
At Thursday’s meeting, pro-Beijing members of the commission reportedly asked that experts be hired to examine the security systems at Legco as they suspected some pan-democrats had acted as “fifth columnists” to assist in Monday’s storming of the complex.
Taking umbrage at the allegation, pan-democrats dared their pro-establishment colleagues to file a police report if they have evidence to support their claim.
Leung, meanwhile, said he would be happy to help pan-democrats arrange a meeting with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to discuss how to cope with the crisis resulting from the extradition bill saga if he is asked to do so.
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