Lawmaker takes heat for Taipei punch-up

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 January, 2012, 12:00am

People Power legislator Wong Yuk-man yesterday dismissed as 'nonsense' a plan by the Democrats to reprimand him for allegedly punching one of their district councillors during a trip to Taiwan.

The radical lawmaker was accused of punching Andrew Fung Wai-kwong in the face over Facebook postings critical of Wong, as government delegates from Hong Kong met outside the Kuomintang headquarters in Taipei on Friday.

The charge was vehemently denied by Wong, who returned to Taipei last night. He was flanked by a dozen People Power supporters, some carrying signs that read, 'We trust Yuk-man' and 'Yuk-man is innocent'. They cheered and clapped as Wong walked into the Hong Kong International Airport's arrival hall.

Known for his broadsides, Wong said of the planned reprimand: 'It is nonsense. The incident took place in Taiwan. Why does it have anything to do with the [legislature]?'

He did not elaborate on the incident in Taipei, but repeatedly denied that he assaulted Fung. Wong said he would give the press a full account of the events tomorrow.

In a statement, People Power accused Fung of 'fabricating' the charge and also condemned the Democratic Party for 'having jumped to the conclusion before having a full investigation and understanding of the issue'.

Wong and fellow People Power activists were in Taiwan over the weekend to study preparations for Taiwan's presidential election. Democratic Party lawmakers and other Hong Kong legislators were also present.

Fung claimed Wong ran up to punch him after slapping away his glasses, and he sustained bruises to his right eye.

The district councillor said Wong was angered by a comment he made on Facebook stating that Wong would not dare criticise the Communist Party after his son was arrested in Shenzhen on a drug-related offence, and that Wong was criticising the pan-democrats 'in exchange for the early release of his son'.

YouTube videos posted by People Power do not show Wong punching Fung. However, in one clip titled 'Andrew Fung diving onto the ground', Fung is seen lying on the ground after a female People Power supporter jabs at him with her fingers. Fung then stands up and walks away.

In response to criticisms, Fung denied he faked the fall.

Paul Chan Mo-po, an independent lawmaker who was at the scene, said he tried to separate Fung and Wong in a tussle, but said he did not see any blows from Wong.

Tensions have simmered between the so-called moderate pan-democrats, led by the Democratic Party, and their radical counterparts, led by Wong, ever since the Democrats backed the administration's controversial electoral reform package in 2010.

Fung, who returned to Hong Kong on Saturday, said he was considering taking legal action against Wong. Some of his party colleagues have also pledged to press the legislature into issuing Wong a reprimand.

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