Executive Councilor Ronny Tong Ka-wah defended the government's decision to invalidate over 20,000 vaccine exemption certificates issued by seven arrested doctors and noted Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau has the power to do so.
Tong's remarks came after lawmaker Doreen Kong Yuk-foon on a radio program, urged authorities to explain the legal grounds for the move and added they would lose the public's faith even if citizens win their appeals.
In a Facebook
post published Wednesday, Tong pointed to article 17 of Cap.599L Prevention and Control of Disease (Vaccine
Pass) Regulation, which says the exemption certificate must contain an opinion from a registered medical practitioner on reasons unfit for vaccination following a clinical assessment.
He went on to say that the law assumes that Lo has the power to decide whether the issued certificates fit the criteria and determine if citizens holding those certificates can enter restricted premises.
“If the secretary wrongly exercised his power, the common way to solve the issue would be filing a judiciary review by the affected party and waiting for a court ruling on whether or not the secretary abuses his power,” Tong wrote.
“The handling works effectively in areas that follow common law and will not damage the city's rule of law. Instead, it is rock-solid evidence of how the spirit of the rule of law is amplified.”
He continued that looking into the arrests with common sense, the numbers of exemption certs issued were off the chart, and the seven doctors had been arrested.
With the coronavirus
thrashing the city at the time, asking the health minister to approve each exemption cert was not practical and posed a risk to the public, Tong said. He also stressed there is no need to publicly challenge the health secretary for ruining the rule of law.
He acknowledged it is good to see diverse opinions on important social matters but warned against jumping to the conclusion that the rule of law is being damaged.