MTR race marred by protesters

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 April, 2011, 12:00am


Two young activists ambushed an MTR event yesterday to protest against rising train fares, with one storming the stage where transport minister Eva Cheng was speaking.

First, an activist dressed in black bustled his way to the front of the crowd, throwing 'hell banknotes' - paper offerings for the dead - at Cheng, who was speaking after a walking race in Chater Road, Central. The minister tried to laugh it off, saying: 'Young people shouldn't follow his lead.'

Moments later a second protester rushed onto the stage and grabbed her microphone. Cheng, taken by surprise, stepped back. But MTR Corporation chairman Dr Raymond Chien Kuo-fung stepped in - intercepting the man and pushing him from the stage.

The protesters were swiftly removed by police and MTR staff.

A police spokesman said they were investigating the incident, but no arrests had been made. He stressed that there was sufficient security at the event.

The incident comes after security reviews were promised by police after a similar ambush last month.

In this case Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was allegedly pushed by a protester during a rowdy demonstration before he officiated at a ceremony.

League of Social Democrats member Steve Wong Chun-kit was arrested. A police investigation is still under way and Wong must report back to police on April 27.

Cheng said she was not scared during yesterday's protest.

'If people want to express their views, we will certainly be pleased to listen. But people should do it in an orderly manner,' she said.

Yesterday's MTR walking race was marred while it was in progress with a number of demonstrators lining the route and chanting slogans against the MTR fare increase as participants went past.

The MTR last month announced a fare increase of 2.3 per cent - a rise of 10 to 20 HK cents per ride - from June.

The MTR's Chien noted that the corporation spent about HK$1.6 billion on various discounts and promotions last year and said it was considering offering passengers more concessions.