By staff writer, with additional reporting by Ben Pang

The government said candidates could face “follow-up actions”

The government said yesterday that Legislative Council election candidates will face possible “follow-up actions” if they declare their support for Hong Kong independence.

Without specifying what the possible actions might be, the warning came just a day after a third Legco candidate, Kacee Wong Sum-yu, said she supported independence.

“The government is concerned that … individual candidates have during the election period advocated or promoted the independence of the Hong Kong SAR,” a government spokesman said, adding that this was against the statutory declaration that they would uphold the Basic Law.

The government had already disqualified six pro-independence candidates before nominations closed. But there were rumours that the government would also try to disqualify more candidates before the Legislative Council elections on Sunday, after a pro-establishment online portal, HKG Pao, quoted “internal sources” as saying that more separatist candidates would be removed from the race.

Speaking to Young Post, Jonathan Man Ho-ching, a lawyer and a political scientist, said the decision could affect the results. Man, of the Progressive Lawyers Group, said: “I haven’t seen a candidate booted out of the race after the nomination period ended. But if that happens, I believe the localist advocates who had their candidacy invalidated will lodge a petition to overturn the election results.”

A political scientist at Chinese University, Ivan Choy Chi-keung said banning separatist candidates from the race would have a big impact on the election result.

“If more localist candidates were disqualified, it would trigger a lot of emotion among moderate and young voters, and encourage them to vote for the remaining radical localist candidates,” says Choy.

Article originally appeared in SCMP Young Post on 30 August 2016