Frustration for HK protest group

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 August, 2008, 12:00am

Five Hong Kong businessmen who ran into trouble in mainland business deals have told of their frustration after their application to protest in Beijing during the Olympics was rejected.

The members of the Hong Kong (China Investment) Rights and Privilege Concern Group arrived in the capital yesterday and went to the Public Security Bureau to file a protest application.

They were told that the earliest date they could demonstrate was next Tuesday, two days after the Games end.

'We can't accept that, because there's no point demonstrating after the Olympics,' said Wang Wen-chin, one of the businessmen. 'We want to do it before August 24 because we want the world to know the problems here.'

He said he had lost more than HK$31 million after he was forced to change his sole enterprise in Shanxi to a joint venture, which was later sold to another mainland company at 'zero value' because of an order from the local government.

Another of the businessmen affected, Sze Yuk-chun, said they were told that applications must be filed five working days in advance, so they could only protest next week.

Mr Wang said that he had represented the group in filing an application in Beijing on August 5, but this was rejected as officials said the group was not a legal organisation on the mainland. Another protester, Cheung Yok-kwan, said: 'We were advised to file our protest individually instead of as a group. That's why we are here in Beijing today.' He added that more Hong Kong businessmen might travel to Beijing later if there was a demonstration.

'We only want to demonstrate peacefully in the designated protest areas. We aim to urge the central government to review our cases.'