A Hong Kong court on Monday began hearing a case in which radical lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung is charged with misconduct in public office for failing to declare to the Legislative Council, according to existing law, a private donation of HK$250,000 from Next Media boss Jimmy Lai Chee-ying. This is not the first time Leung has got himself in legal trouble. Indeed, he is far ahead of any other legislator in the number of run-ins with existing law in Hong Kong history. He even did time in prison and won LegCo election afterwards. Sometimes people may wonder whether or not he is immune to retribution.
The public may no longer be surprised by Leung’s recidivism but his fellow opposition troublemakers always defend him with the same lame counter-accusation of “political prosecution” anyway, as if the court will never be able to see the truth. Their logic seems to be that all charges against them must be “political prosecution” because their illegal acts are politically motivated. In other words, they seem to believe they can commit any offense they want against law and get away with it because they are politicians and everything they do is political. Obviously it never bothered them this counter-charge also suggests they believe they are above the law.
Double standards are nothing new in politics and the opposition camp in Hong Kong knows this better than everyone else. In fact, they love it so much they don’t mind that is a double-edged sword that could cut themselves if they wave it too often. Not long ago one of them filed a complaint with the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) against Chief Executive-designate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, accusing her of favoring famous architect Rocco Yim by hiring the latter as a design consultant for the planned Hong Kong Palace Museum at the West Kowloon Culture District. As in many similar cases the accuser in this one, Claudia Mo Man-ching, did not establish any sound legal ground for her complaint, leading many people to believe it was politically motivated.
More examples of unbridled “political prosecution” can be found in many judicial review cases filed by opposition politicians or their “hired guns” aimed at ambushing the special administrative region government one way or another. It is no surprise most of those applications for judicial review were thrown out by courts for lack of legal merit, but the opposition parties have yet to show any sign of giving up. To them it is the easiest way to make the SAR government miserable just because their political cause demands it, even if Hong Kong society stands to bear all the pain and cost it entails. Such is the appeal of double standard to some politicians they would risk their own credibility to apply it every now and then, because they still believe it costs so little. Just wait and see.
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