Stuck in traffic

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 March, 2006, 12:00am

Police officers create a protective circle around housing chief Michael Suen Ming-yeung's car to keep back dozens of angry protesters who tried to mob the secretary when he arrived at a Shamshuipo school for a forum on public housing rent.

With angry shouts, about a dozen protesters yesterday labelled the consultation a fake exercise and accused Mr Suen of failing to keep his promise to attend their meeting on rent reforms. Officers arrived shortly before 2.30pm and sealed part of Pratas Street in Cheung Sha Wan, while creating a human chain around his car. The demonstrators, from the Alliance for Defending Grass-roots Housing Rights, wanted to give Mr Suen letters opposing the reform plans, and when he refused to get out of the car, they folded the letters into paper planes to throw at him.

Legislator 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung and other supporters arrived to join the protest, which continued until 5.15pm when police were finally able to clear the scene and allow Mr Suen to safely get out of his car. By then, however, the forum was over.

The secretary called their behaviour unacceptable and stressed the government would consult with many groups.

'This group had already handed me their petition when I attended a similar conference at the Legislative Council last week,' Mr Suen said. 'The problem is that we are here today to have a forum with public housing residents, but the group's theory is that they are the only people to be consulted and if we consult other groups it was a fake consultation.'