Lam's patience wearing thin on brainwashers of youth

Top News | Amy Nip 14 Jun 2018

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has ruled out any British-style inquiry into the causes of the Mong Kok riots that resulted in the heavy jail terms of some offenders. If the government investigates anything, it will be to probe who brainwashed young people into committing acts of disobedience, she said.

She was responding to lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun, who asked whether she would set up an independent commission to investigate the riots and determine if they were caused by deep-rooted problems.

Among the offenders jailed was localist leader Edward Leung Tin-kei, 27 who has begun a six-year jail term for the violence. Lo Kin-man, 31, was sentenced to seven years.

"Deep-rooted conflicts in society are not resolved by heavy sentences. I am aware that after the riot on October 10, 1956, [British] governor Alexander Grantham started an investigation immediately," Shiu said.

After the 1966 Kowloon riots, governor David Trench set up an independent commission that interviewed some of the rioters. The commission came up with a 167-page report stating that the public's grievances failed to reach the higher levels of the government.

But Lam said she would not set up such commissions. There are problems with every government, and they should not be used as excuses to break the law. Besides, the situation now is not as bad as the 1960s, she said.

"If we were to set up an independent investigation commission, it is to investigate who keeps feeding young people with messages of 'achieving justice by breaking the law' and 'civil disobedience,'" she said.

People should be held responsible for what they say. They should not lead on youngsters, prompting them to romanticize illegal behavior.

Lam said there may be different opinions on a judge's sentence. But it is unacceptable to smear a judge or show contempt for Hong Kong's judicial independence.

Leung was transferred yesterday from the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre to maximum-security Shek Pik Prison on Lantau. Lo was transferred to Stanley Prison.

Meanwhile, disqualified lawmaker Yau Wai-ching - who is spending four weeks at the Lo Wu Correctional Institution for illegal assembly - drew eight smiley faces in a letter published on her Facebook page.

The letter said: "I am fine, don't worry. I can adapt."

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