Ronny Tong Ka-wah, an executive councilor in Hong Kong, rejected claims that lawmakers cannot be prosecuted, and stressed that the LegCo is not an independent kingdom, following the arrest of several current and former Hong Kong lawmakers for violating the Legislative Council (LegCo) Ordinance.
In response to comments that the law was meant to protect the legislature from outside interference and not to be used against lawmakers, Tong said on a Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) program on Monday that if there were matters that could not be dealt with by the LegCo president, they would have to be dealt with by the police.
"The legislative intent of the law is to protect the independence, dignity and operation of the LegCo," Tong said, "But the LegCo is no independent kingdom."
Earlier the same day, the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) confirmed that they had taken in opposition lawmaker Ted Hui on charges of violating the LegCo Ordinance.
Hui was later released in the afternoon on HK$1,000 ($129) bail, and accused Hong Kong of having become a "complete police state."
However, the words of Tong, who is also a barrister, came as a rebuttal. "Lawmakers still have to obey the laws of Hong Kong. The police could deal with matters that the Legco president couldn't handle after the Legco Secretariat called the force for help."
On Sunday, seven political figures from the LegCo, including current and former members Wu Chi-wai, Steven Kwok Wing-kin, Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, and Eddie Chu, were arrested and charged with contempt and interference with LegCo personnel.
So far, eight political figures involved in a chaotic LegCo meeting on May 8 have been arrested.
On May 8, the LegCo meeting descended into turmoil as a few opposition politicians caused scenes of rioting at the meeting and attempted to attack other lawmakers. Despite warnings from LegCo leader Starry Lee Wai-king that obstructing LegCo meetings could be in breach of the law, they repeatedly prevented the meeting from proceeding until they were thrown out.