Sunday, November 29, 2015   

CY pours oil on fire

Mary Ma

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


It's obvious that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is out to get primary school teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze.

As he delivered the politically charged speech at a Tin Shui Wai town hall forum, Leung must know he was adding fuel to the fire to make a dangerous situation even more volatile.

It just didn't make sense.

The town hall gathering was organized by the government, a perfect platform for him to hit back at critics.

But having declared his full support for the police, Leung suddenly demanded that education minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim provide him with a report on Lam, who - by the way - won the chief executive's award for teaching excellence in 2011.

Leung's demand took education officials by surprise, with education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen accusing the chief executive of being "seriously biased" in his dealings with the Lam case.

Leung said it was because there was a new development. He must be referring to a video clip that showed Lam swearing in Cantonese - something about someone's mother - in addition to her earlier "what the f***" remark in English to police.

Is it proper for Leung to say something to pitch one sector of the community against another?

The row should be allowed to die down, exactly what Ng had urged after Lam previously apologized for her behavior.

Ng must have felt bewildered when he heard his boss ordering him to keep the issue alive.

Lam undoubtedly lost control of herself in the swearing incident that sparked all these nasty scenes. The police officer who bore the brunt should be praised.

Given Leung's position as the chief executive, it's understandable he would make a high-key declaration of support for the police force.

Over the past week, the authorities - including police - have relentlessly played down the Mong Kok demonstration as a non-political event, even though it attracted more than 2,000 protesters, including retired and off- duty police officers, from opposing sides.

If it was the authorities' wish to treat the protest as non-political, then Leung has undermined those efforts.

Independent Police Complaints Council chairman Jat Sew-tong was careful with his comments yesterday. While agreeing with Leung's call for the public to show respect for police, he wished the chief executive wouldn't escalate conflicts between the force and the people.

Jat is concerned Leung's charged statement could raise social unrest.

It's crystal clear that tensions in society have never been higher.

Outside the Tin Shui Wai town hall, government supporters - some wearing masks - pushed and kicked anti- establishment protesters in full view of the police.

We hadn't witnessed such scenes in the past, but they're becoming common.

As the government leader, Leung should at least avoid widening the gulf.

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