Regine Yau Wai-ching (Chinese: 游蕙禎; born 6 May 1991) is a former Hong Kong politician and former member of the localist group Youngspiration. She was elected to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong as a member for Kowloon West in the 2016 Legislative Council election, but has since been disqualified pursuant to a judgement delivered by the High Court on 15 November 2016.
|Member of the Legislative Council|
1 October 2016 – 12 October 2016
|Preceded by||New seat|
|Succeeded by||Vincent Cheng|
|Born||6 May 1991|
St. Teresa's Hospital, Ma Tau Wai, British Hong Kong
|Political party||Youngspiration (2015–19)|
|Residence||Mong Kok, Kowloon|
|Alma mater||Lingnan University|
|Regine Yau Wai-ching|
Yau was born on 6 May 1991 at St Teresa's Hospital in Kowloon City, Hong Kong to a middle-class family. Both her parents were civil servants. Her father was a technical officer in the Hong Kong government. She was educated at Queen Elizabeth School and studied Chinese language at Lingnan University. She was an intern at Ta Kung Pao newspaper during her studies.
She is a member of Youngspiration, a localist group formed by young people after the Umbrella Revolution. Youngspiration fielded nine candidates in the 2015 District Council elections, in which Yau ran against legislator Priscilla Leung in Whampoa East. As a newcomer, Yau received 2,041 votes, only about 300 votes less than Leung. After the district council election, Yau served as District Councillor Kwong Po-yin's assistant and Youngspiration's Whampoa community officer.
Legislative Councillor and disqualification
Representing Youngspiration in the 2016 Legislative Council election, she won the sixth and final seat in the Kowloon West geographical constituency. With 20,643 votes, Yau edged out incumbent Wong Yuk-man to become the youngest female member of the Legislative Council. She was the second youngest member behind localist Nathan Law, who also won within the same election on Hong Kong Island.
On 12 October 2016, Yau and her party colleague Baggio Leung attended the swearing-in ceremony at the first Legislative Council session. The two of them inserted their own words into the official script and had their oaths rejected. They were criticised for pronouncing China as "Jee-na", a term considered derogatory since the Second Sino-Japanese War, and Yau mispronounced "People's Republic of China" as "people's re-fucking of Jee-na". As a result, their qualification as legislators were challenged by the government in court. The National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) intervened in the court case by interpreting Article 104 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong to "clarify" the provision of the legislators to swear allegiance to Hong Kong as part of China when they take office. The NPCSC insisted the oath taking must be conducted sincerely and accurately, and later stated that China would firmly oppose Hong Kong independence.
On 15 November, the court disqualified the two legislators on the grounds they did not take their oaths "faithfully and truthfully". On 26 August 2017, the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong refused to appeal the case, holding that they did not have a reasonably arguable case. Leung and Yau were found to have manifestly refused and wilfully omitted to take their oath – an act classed as declining and neglecting it. On 28 June 2019, Yau withdrew from the Youngspiration party.
In May 2020, the Legislative Council Commission demanded Yau to repay HK$930,000 (US $120,000) from public funds, claiming that she was mistakenly paid the salary and funds granted to lawmakers. The court ruling, which came right before her 29th birthday, prompted Yau to remark, "I would rebuild no matter how hard the impact."
- "Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (Legislative Council) Regulation (Cap. 541 sub. leg. D) (Section 21)--Notice of Valid Nominations—Legislative Council General Election Kowloon West Geographical Constituency" (PDF). Government Logistics Department. 5 August 2016.
- Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Hong Kong pro-democracy movement: A timeline | DW | 31.07.2019". DW.COM. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- "Yau Wai-ching: I might be stripped of my post any day". 19 October 2016.
- "中環出更：「新政」靚女 空降黃埔東鬥梁美芬". Oriental Daily. 30 March 2015.
- "A court in Hong Kong disbars two legislators". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- "男選民「背妻投游蕙禎」 鼠王芬稱對她人身攻擊". Metro Daily (in Chinese). 27 November 2015.
- Cheng, Kris (17 June 2016). "One and only Youngspiration district councillor leaves pro-democracy group". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- Tsui, Tom. "The youngest woman ever to be elected to Hong Kong's legislature is being targeted with sexual slurs". Quartz. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- "Three rejections and multiple deviations mark Hong Kong Legislative Council swearing-in". South China Morning Post. 12 October 2016.
- "Hong Kong government fails to block localist duo from retaking Legco oaths, but wins right to seek judicial review". South China Morning Post. 18 October 2016.
- "The 25-Year-Old at the Heart of Hong Kong's Political Crisis". Time. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- "Hong Kong court rules localist lawmakers must vacate Legco seats". South China Morning Post. 15 November 2016.
- "Ousted Hong Kong lawmakers Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching lose final bid to regain seats". South China Morning Post. 25 August 2017.
- "Why did Hong Kong's top court strike down final appeal bid over oath-taking saga?". South China Morning Post. 2 September 2017.
- Cheng, Kris (9 September 2018). "From electoral triumph to prison: ex-aide of ousted lawmaker Yau Wai-ching says movement tried to go too far, too fast". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- "Bankruptcy ruling sought as disqualified lawmaker fails to repay Legco cash". South China Morning Post. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- "Hong Kong court orders two disqualified lawmakers to repay HK$1.9 million". South China Morning Post. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
- "游蕙禎 Yau Wai Ching". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
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