Posters furor drags on as 2,000 rally at Tamar

Local | Sum Lok-kei 18 Sep 2017

About 2,000 people protested at Tamar Park led by pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu to oppose pro- independence talk on university campuses and demand the sacking of University of Hong Kong legal scholar Benny Tai Yiu-ting.

Police put the number of demonstrators at 2,100, half of what Ho, a solicitor who represents the New Territories West geographical constituency, claimed to be 4,000 protesters at the rally held from 3-5pm.

On the pro-independence posters found on campuses, Ho said people should take the "waste paper" home and "drink it with some water." He reiterated Tai should be sacked as he was responsible for organizing the Occupy movement in 2014 that has led to social disruption in recent years.

Tai, an associate professor at the HKU Faculty of Law and a co-founder of Occupy Central, yesterday said he respects the freedom of expression of the "people who made these attacks upon me."

He added: "I still trust that the Hong Kong system including our judicial system, our university system will be able to protect the freedoms of Hong Kong people so I will leave the matter to the authorities."

Meanwhile, about a dozen pro- Beijing protesters from Caring Hong Kong Power put up posters reading "This place is China" on the Chinese University of Hong Kong Students' Union Democracy Wall bulletin board as a lone union official, external secretary Thomas Lee Man-yiu, was stationed at the booth guarding the board at 2.40pm.

When a dozen security guards arrived to get the group to leave,they sat down on the ground chanting "Hong Kong is China."

They tried to post more posters on the board and grappled with the guards. A female guard fell to the ground. Police arrived at 5pm but left shortly after. No arrests were made.

Earlier at 1.30pm, three people tore pro-independence posters from the wall with a woman dressed in white tearing off a large portion of the posters. Lee chased the woman, who went into a car parked nearby.

Two minutes later, the car doubled- back and the driver yelled at Lee, calling him a "British traitor."

Vice chancellor Joseph Sung Jao- yiu said students should remove pro- independence materials. "Otherwise, the university will take action to remove the materials," Sung wrote in a statement last Friday.

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Edward Law Kwok-fun told a city forum that discussing and promoting independence were two things. Lau, a CUHK Council member, said on a televised program that it is permissible to discuss the subject matter. However, to put up a black banner at CUHK stating independence would amount to advocacy, he said, adding it was against the Basic Law.

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