Girl guides to discuss waiving age limit for chief

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 October, 2010, 12:00am

The Hong Kong Girl Guides Association will hold a special meeting today to discuss waiving the age limit of 65 years that the association has confirmed its rules say is currently applicable to the election of its chief commissioner.

The controversial meeting has been made necessary because two individuals asked a court to become involved with the matter of a chief commissioner who was elected to her post while over that age limit.

The Court of First Instance yesterday rejected a request for a judicial review from the two individuals, who are not parents of a girl guide or members of the association.

Their request sought a declaration that the results of the 2007 election in which Delia Pei won the post were invalid and urged the court to forbid the association from holding today's special meeting.

Foo Wai-lok, who applied for the judicial review with Judy Tzeng, said Pei was 66 when she was elected three years ago, and this was a breach of the association's own rule.

The association confirmed the existence of the rule to the South China Morning Post, but refused to discuss it.

After the court rejected the application, Foo said they would continue the legal battle. 'The judge told us that he did not see damage to our interests clearly since we are not parents of girl guides,' he said.

In their application the pair said they had relatives or friends with children who were girl guides.

'We believe, however, we should fight on since the association cannot neglect its own rule and continue allowing Pei to hold the post.

'And it is totally wrong that the association is trying to change the rule now,' Foo said.

He added that he would find a parent whose daughter is a girl guide to file a judicial review, as soon as today if possible.

Foo said that the association, which receives annual government funding of HK$10 million, could not simply alter the age limit for its top posts on its own without seeking the government's approval before doing so.

'And we believe that the association should be led by a person who is younger and energetic because its target audience is little girls and young ladies,' he said.

The association confirmed that one of the items discussed at today's special meeting would relate to the 2007 election and the age of the chief commissioner, but refused to disclose details. It also refused to say whether age limits also applied to any other of the association's posts.

The association's spokeswoman added that the election of the commissioner was a transparent matter, and that a total of 95 people of various ranks had the right to vote.

She said the association would hold the special meeting as planned.

'At the moment, there is no legal case, so we will proceed with our meeting as scheduled,' she said.

Asked about Foo's claim that the association could not alter the age ceiling of its top posts on its own, the Home Affairs Bureau said the government respected the autonomy of the association since it was an independent statutory body.