Activists given two weeks to file defence against HSBC
A court yesterday gave Occupy Central participants two weeks to file their defences as HSBC pressed on with an attempt to remove them through legal action.
High Court Master Katherine Lo Kit-yee told the three named defendants to file notices stating their intention to defend, as well as supporting affirmations and documents, within 14 days. She said those wanting to join the case as a defendant must apply as soon as possible.
For months, anti-bank campaigners have squatted in an open area beneath the bank's headquarters to protest against what they see as injustices in the economic system.
The first of four defendants in the case has been named the 'occupiers of the ground floor of 1 Queen's Road Central' to accommodate protesters wishing to join the suit.
The plaza is the bank's private property but was designated a public passage in an agreement with the government in 1983.
HSBC last month asked the court to rule that it was entitled to recover possession of the plaza, which the bank says the protesters have used without its consent since October. Lawyer Victor Dawes, for HSBC, asked the master to rule in its favour in a summary judgment instead of going through a full trial.
Instead, Lo - in a brief hearing yesterday attended by a dozen Occupy protesters - gave time for the defendants to file their replies and adjourned the case to August 13.
The three other defendants are: Mui Kai-ming, brother of late Canto-pop singer Anita Mui Yim-fong; self-employed financial analyst Ho Yiu-sing; and Wong Chung-hang, a homeless man.
Lawyers for the bank said it had been difficult to deliver documents to the transient occupiers.
The number of arrests made against Occupy protesters in 116 cities, according to the movement's research unit