BNO rules apply to vote body members and spouses – Lam

All members of a committee tasked with electing the chief executive and 40 lawmakers must fill in a form to declare whether they and their spouses have foreign nationalities or British National (Overseas) passports, says the city’s leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

With 1,500 Election Committee members – some of whom are automatically appointed and others elected – all candidates and members of the committee must fill in the form for vetting to ensure fairness.

Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, Tam Yiu-chung, who is also an ex-officio member of the Election Committee, said he received the form on Monday.

Candidates’ information will be reviewed by the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee, Lam said yesterday at a news conference.

“Of course we need firsthand information from the individual and any candidate who wants to be a member of the Election Committee has to provide their own personal particulars and about other things that we need to know,” Lam said.

“We want to know about the candidate’s spouse as well and we will ask whether the spouse has another nationality or whether the spouse is in possession of a BNO passport.”

Lam said the review committee will look into the information and decide whether a candidate could fulfill all the requirements.

“Some will feel that since they are ex-officio – for example, by virtue of their status as a deputy to the National People’s Congress or being a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference – that it should be taken for granted that they will fulfill the patriotic requirement,” Lam said.

“But in order to ensure fairness in the application of the candidate review process, everyone who will have a seat in the 1,500-strong Election Committee will have to go through the same process.”

Tam said although he has received a form requiring him to make the declaration, he is not required to declare his assets.

Tam said he believes the purpose of the form was for the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee to further know about candidates and he did not say whether it would affect the election results.

Separately, Lam said oath-taking of district councillors must proceed even if a large number of councillors are disqualified, putting the operation of councils in question.

She said district councillors would review their past behavior to check if they had crossed a line after a bill requiring all district councillors to pledge allegiance to Hong Kong and uphold the Basic Law was passed in May.

“Some district councillors have decided to resign and this is not something we can control,” Lam said.

Sources said the government will send two types of letters to district councillors later this month.

Some would be informed about the date and location of the oath-taking, while others would be told they are not invited – meaning they are disqualified.

It is understood that councillors who resign after being disqualified will still need to repay more than HK$1 million in salary and paid expenses.

Around 200 district councillors have resigned by yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Kwai Tsing district council’s new chairman, Leung Kam-wai was challenged on his role as a Standing Committee member of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China.

Leung was “unpatriotic” and “supports subversion of national sovereignty,” said councillor Lo Yuen-ting of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

Leung was elected chairman without competition after jailed Democrat Sin Chung-kai lost his seat.

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