A group of lawmakers are taking the government to court over the emergency law and mask ban.
Photo: A blue-sprayed mask sits abandoned on the road on the night of 20 October protests.
24 pro-democracy legislators who filed a judicial review on 5 October have launched a crowdfunding campaign to combat what they refer to as two “evil” laws: the Emergency Regulations Ordinance (ERO) and the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation. Earlier this month, the HKSAR government utilised the former legislation in order to pass the latter ban, which ruled that it was illegal for protesters to wear masks or disguise their faces at both authorised and unauthorised gatherings.
The colonial-era ERO made it possible for the government to rush through and enact the mask ban without undergoing the Legislative Council’s normal scrutiny. Pro-democracy legislators have called the ERO “unconstitutional”, while thousands of protesters responded by repeatedly demonstrating with their faces covered. The goal of the judicial review is for the Court to deem the emergency law unconstitutional. This would have the follow-on impact of nullifying the mask ban and prevent the introduction of any future emergency regulations.
The pro-democracy legislators behind the fundraiser have collectively raised HK$1,500,000, to be put against a total of HK$5,000,000 in estimated costs. The campaign’s funding goal going forward is HK$3,850,000 to cover litigation costs and 10% for the crowdfunding platform’s administrative fees. Anticipating appeals, the target amount would suffice for the the judicial review to be prosecuted at the Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal, and Court of Final Appeal. Legal advice from experts both local and abroad, trial expenses, and payment to the government in the event the JR is unsuccessful and the court demands they cover government expenses. Surplus funds will be evenly donated to the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund and the Justice Defense Fund.
Donations to the crowdfunding campaign are being accepted until 29 January, 2020. Harbour Times has commented the Legislative Council for comment; this article will be updated upon receiving a response.
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