Hundreds of protesters took to the streets yesterday urging Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down, on the eve of his public accounting for illegal structures at his home on The Peak.
Leung is expected to be questioned by lawmakers from across the political spectrum for at least 1-1/2 hours in the Legislative Council today.
A motion of no confidence is to be tabled in Legco on Wednesday and there has been talk of impeachment proceedings.
In the first big public protest over the saga, about 400 people - holding placards and chanting "CY step down" - said they had had enough of a "cheating" chief executive.
"Leung has no integrity at all. He just cannot stop lying," one protester said. "I still remember how he attacked [chief executive rival] Henry Tang Ying-yen about his basement during an election forum [in March]."
At the time, Leung criticised Tang for having a luxurious 2,300sq ft illegal basement under his Kowloon Tong house. The attack has come back to haunt Leung after he admitted, on November 23, having a much smaller, unused illegal extension in the basement of his own house at 4 Peel Rise, among several other illegal structures. It was the first time he had owned up to the structures since the media disclosed the unauthorised works five months ago.
Leung said he realised the existence of the extension as early as October last year - drawing criticism that he had "cheated" in the election by attacking Tang.
Lawmaker Wu Chi-wai of the Democratic Party, which organised the march from Chater Garden to the government headquarters in Admiralty, said pan-democrats were planning further action, including a rally on January 1 which pan-democrats say they expect will draw hundreds of thousands of people.
Wu, the initiator of the motion of no confidence to be tabled on Wednesday, said his party would also support impeachment of Leung.
Radical factions in the pan-democratic camp, including People Power and the League of Social Democrats, formed an "Anti-CY Alliance". They said they would mobilise supporters to surround Government House in Central, where Leung lives, after the January 1 rally.
Leung's allies, including Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong and Lew Mon-hung - a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference - said the public hoped the new administration would be given time and space to roll out its policies.
"We can criticise Leung over his handling of the illegal structures and he should apologise for that. But it is irrelevant to what he has done [for the city] after he became chief executive," said Lew.