Suspects founded union during unrest 'to defend justice'

The five arrested leaders of the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists were working in social welfare organizations, schools and private organizations. The union was founded in November 2019 amid the social unrest with the aim to "defend justice, unite the industry, foster...

Sophie Hui

Friday, July 23, 2021

The five arrested leaders of the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists were working in social welfare organizations, schools and private organizations.

The union was founded in November 2019 amid the social unrest with the aim to "defend justice, unite the industry, foster communication and fight for rights and interests."

It has more than 350 members, accounting for about 30 percent of 1,200 speech therapists in Hong Kong, says the union's 2019/20 annual report.

The union had taken part in several assemblies, rallies and strikes amid the social unrest, and set up street booths during the medical workers' strike early last year.

Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah of the police national security department quoted union chairwoman Lorie Lai as saying on its website that the union's goal was to "get rid of the devil's talon which kept attempting to interfere and erode Hong Kong's internal affairs, and build a real Hong Kong that belongs to us."

Lai had written that "with one last breath, we will fight until the last moment," Li said.

People would understand what the union focused on by what Lai wrote, he said.

The union published the three Sheep Village story books and distributed them to the general public and union members in pro-democracy "yellow shops."

In January, Undersecretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin told lawmakers that the bureau was aware that one of the picture story books - 12 Warriors of the Sheep Village - was politically charged.

She said the book was "political propaganda under the disguise of fairy tales," and the bureau would immediately stop speech therapists or teachers from using it as children's reading material.

One of the five arrested yesterday, union vice-chairwoman Melody Yeung had previously been arrested for causing obstruction in public places.

She was arrested on November 11, 2019, as she was setting up road barricades with traffic cones at the junction of Connaught Road Central and Ice House Street in Central.

She was bound over for HK$1,000 in sureties for a year by the Eastern magistrates' court in August.