Motions Under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (2014.10.30)

MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): President, I oppose Mr WONG Yuk-man’s motion because it merely recommends inquiring into the incident which took place on one particular day of the Occupy Central movement instead of inquiring into the cause and development of the entire incident, which, in my opinion, is inappropriate. This is the so-called “not seeing the wood for the trees” and therefore I cannot support the motion.

I support Mr Andrew LEUNG’s motion because it will carry out a full inquiry into the Occupy Central incident. As explained clearly by many Members just now, the Occupy Central incident has given rise to a lot of ambiguous situations that should be investigated, so I will not repeat them. Nonetheless, I believe that many people who are watching the live broadcast may not understand fully some of our comments, so let me just give a brief explanation.

The first point is related to the problem of donations. We know that in Hong Kong, it is acceptable for political parties to openly accept donations as they also need to rely on donations to sustain their operation. What we mean by inappropriate or improper situations are those where somebody has accepted donations in his personal capacity without disclosing it, and behaved in a way that may be considered as involving a conflict of interest. This is exactly where the problem lies. It is therefore not acceptable to say that the others and political parties can also accept donations just because someone has accepted donations in his personal capacity. Given that it is lawful for political parties to accept donations in Hong Kong, we should gain a clear idea of this concept. Nonetheless, in my opinion, the problem actually lies in the circumstance where someone has accepted donations in his personal capacity without disclosing it and, when being criticized subsequently for such acceptance, fails to provide a clear explanation.

Secondly, it is often said that opponents of Occupy Central are paid. It is possible that this problem does exist, but I believe it only accounts for a minority. Please do not assume that all people who are against Occupy Central are paid as I can tell you that if you ever go to a teahouse or go for a stroll on the street, you will notice at any time that many people are chiding the Occupy Central movement. It is because people are suffering a lot from it, such as the delay caused on one’s way to work. The owner of a fruit stall which I frequently patronize would complain to me whenever we met, saying that she currently has to spend an extra 40 to 45 minutes every day on buying fruits at the Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market. As she is already in her seventies, I think that she is suffering from a great disturbance. But, television stations will probably not interview people like her. Therefore, I believe there is a large number of these people in Hong Kong.

Honourable Members, please do not underestimate other people’s hatred towards Occupy Central as it has actually affected and hijacked the public. The others may not agree with this approach of fighting for one’s cause and probably consider that it is safer and better to pursue it in a gradual way. However, you have bound them together for no reason, which has immediately inflicted sufferings on them. It will be even more ridiculous to say something like, “The future as well as the next few decades belong to our next generation, in which we do not have any say”, as these people may live for a few more decades but you have affected their lives in the next few decades. Everyone will oppose the pursuit of democracy in such an undemocratic way now. Besides, we understand clearly that there is a large number of people who actually oppose Occupy Central which, in my estimation, at least numbers over 1 million. You should not deceive yourself as well as the others. Maybe a lot of your friends support Occupy Central but most of my friends oppose it. It is possible that we belong to different social circles, as birds of a feather flock together, and hence we may not see the viewpoints of each other’s friends. However, I sincerely hope that Members will not underestimate the number of opponents of Occupy Central nor even smear them all as getting paid.

One day, I watched an interview on YouTube, the kind of information that is constantly forwarded by others nowadays, and I remember that it was an interview of a female student from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in Admiralty. An opponent of Occupy Central walked up to her and it seemed that Ms LI Wei-ling and Mr Martin LEE were also there. Another person immediately asked him whether he had been paid, but it was then found out that he is actually an iBanker who was just making the remarks from the bottom of his heart. It is unnecessary to, whenever you meet someone who opposes Occupy Central, ask whether he is getting paid and how much is that as this is really insulting. You cannot impute motives to the others like that and I hope everyone can be more restrained. If there are people opposing Occupy Central, you should listen to their explanation. Do not use foul language to “greet” the others, nor should you ask them how much did they get as this is not helpful to solving the problem at all.

Instead, I would like to point out that Mrs Regina IP, who mentioned just now that this is the root of the problem in Hong Kong, has made a very good point as it is exactly the case. We have to understand that all issues which take the moral high ground will then be used as excuses in the future to violate the rule of law or as excuses that allow people to violate the rule of law. I believe that occupation of roads and storming will take place regularly in Hong Kong, for which Hong Kong people should be prepared psychologically. Moreover, as the raiders have undergone the drills for Occupy Central, it is believed that they will be more organized and valiant in charging at the Police. Currently, the Police are constrained by the requirements for prosecution imposed by the Department of Justice. After arresting a person, it is possible that, without enough evidence or according to the procedures, prosecution cannot be initiated immediately, and so this creates a misconception that there will be no consequences, thus encouraging more people to follow suit. In fact, after collecting enough evidence, the Police will prosecute those people sooner or later. It will then be regarded as settling scores after the event. Since they had so much fun in storming, I believe they will not give up easily. We have to be prepared psychologically that occupation of roads and storming will take place frequently in Hong Kong and become a norm.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that the greatest damage inflicted by the Occupy Central incident on Hong Kong is its challenge of the rule of law as well as law and order of Hong Kong society. Legal academics and Members with a legal background took the lead to flout the court injunction. I think they owe society an explanation on such disrespectful act towards the spirit of the rule of law. Occupation of roads by students is in itself an unlawful act, and it has further evolved into flouting the court injunction. It is indeed astonishing to notice that some students actually said they would not obey the court order even if they would be prosecuted. In order to truly uphold the spirit of the rule of law, I believe that the public should, as stated by Mr Eric CHEUNG, Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Law of the HKU, obey the injunction even if people have reservations about it, given that the temporary injunction has already been granted by the Court. If you do not agree with it, you can then challenge it or lodge an appeal.

Today, as some people with a legal background or those who are familiar with the legal sector have taken the lead to show disrespect for the Court, some people will certainly follow suit in the future. Over time, all cornerstones will topple over. It is therefore necessary for us to nip the problems in the bud and uphold the principle of the rule of law which cannot be sacrificed on any ground. Although the legal sector and the opposition camp have given many explanations, for the general public and investors, abiding by the law is the most important component of the rule of law.

I would like to read out the WhatsApp message sent by a member of the public to me as he hoped I can relay it to Members. He asked, “Several Legislative Council Members have openly incited the public to contravene the law, showing no respect for the law at all. May I ask why do they have the face to remain in the Council? Is it the power, money or the “interesting” process of inciting others to contravene the law while possessing the power to enact law that actually makes them stay in the Council?” I hope that, granting the opportunity, those Members can give us an explanation.

In fact, in the beginning, the Occupy Central incident may not necessarily have long-term impact on Hong Kong. Damage to the rule of law, however, will possibly cause quite a stir. My friend from a foreign-funded company told me that at first, he thought that the political environment of Hong Kong was stable and that the spirit of the rule of law would not be inferior to that of Singapore. But he had begun to feel worried now and was anxious that his investment could not be afforded protection. We should understand that if Hong Kong no longer attaches great importance to the rule of law, there will be inconceivable consequences.

Moreover, I note that although most of the students are peaceful and rational, some organized radicals who are fully armed have actually mixed with the crowd and initiated aggressive acts constantly. They have even erected defensive facilities as if playing a war game, thus exposing the originally peaceful assembly to constant danger. Given that they have mixed with the students, the latter have become their protective umbrellas instead. Apart from those students who are peaceful and rational, who are these radicals actually? What organizations are they representing? What is their purpose of mixing with the students? I believe many people also want to know the answers. After finding out the truth, justice can also be done to the students who assemble peacefully.

Since such a large number of problems require clarification, I therefore consider that invoking the P&P Ordinance is appropriate. Thank you, President.

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