Hong Kong's Occupy protesters defy eviction order, brace for clash with police
Anti-capitalist group given a fortnight to leave by court, but some activists say police must remove them by force
Occupy Central protesters were last night preparing for a clash with police after being given a fortnight to vacate their camp under HSBC headquarters on the orders of the High Court.
Yesterday's ruling looked set to end one of the world's longest-running anti-capitalism camps, but some defiant occupiers said police would have to move them by force.
They were given a deadline of 9pm on August 27 to leave the plaza beneath the HSBC building after Master Reuden Lai Tat-cheung granted an application for their removal filed by the bank in June.
He ruled that the protesters, who had been inspired by last year's Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States, had no legal basis to occupy the site.
Jojo Wong, 22, who sleeps in the camp three nights a week, said: "We will stay until the last minute. We are prepared [to be forcefully removed by police]."
Another protester, Tam Mei-kam, mother of late Canto-pop singer Anita Mui Yim-fong, said: "I am not going to leave this place and I am going to make it bigger."
She and her son Mui Kai-ming set up banners to voice discontent over the way the bank dealt with her daughter's estate. They have brought bamboo poles and 60 sandbags.
In the High Court yesterday, Lai ruled that although the ground-floor area had been designated a public passage in an agreement with the government in 1983, the camp went beyond its use as a walkway.
At the bank's request, he gave the occupiers 14 days to leave. Victor Dawes, representing HSBC, said the bank would not be asking for legal costs from them.
Tents, sofas and chairs remained scattered around the plaza yesterday.
Occupy Central was one of many protests around the world mimicking the Occupy Wall Street movement condemning economic injustice.
At the peak of the Hong Kong protest, there were more than 100 participants but the number dwindled and now only a few people stay overnight, including the homeless.
The bank said the camp, which consists of tents pitched around communal areas where activists sleep, work and eat, posed safety issues. The case listed five defendants - the first being "the occupiers of the ground floor of 1 Queen's Road Central" , while the others were Tam and Mui, activist Sumer Ho Yiu-sing and Wong Chung-hang, a homeless man.