Hongkongers on march again. This time for charity
No protest this time as 17,000 take to the streets and even get a send-off from the chief executive
There were big red banners and there were thousands of people ready to march. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was there, too.
No, not another Sunday demonstration but the annual Walk for Millions.
About 17,000 people from 159 business and community organisations gathered at Hong Kong Stadium in the chill of yesterday morning to take part in the charity event that has been run by the Community Chest of Hong Kong for more than 40 years. One 70-year-old man, who identified himself as Uncle Chan and a member of the Shun Tak Fraternal Association, was on his 15th Walk for Millions.
He said in the last few years he had not been able to manage the whole 10 kilometre route and would only be walking as far as Wong Nai Chung Gap Road yesterday.
Chan, who said he would keep on coming as long as he remains healthy, said the day helped raise money for the needy and was also good for everyone taking part. "Walking can train our body and test our physical condition," he said. "We won't be fined if we can't finish, and we can just do it for fun with our friends."
He was very relieved the speeches beforehand were kept short this year. "One year, we were all in the stadium at 9am but we weren't able to start the walk until after 10," he said.
Encouraging others to join in next year, he added that walkers get a certificate after completing the journey.
Most people took about three to four hours to complete the 10 kilometres yesterday, raising HK$30.7 million in the process. The walk took them along Black's Link and Aberdeen Reservoir Road, finishing at Aberdeen Country Park.
Every cent raised will be used to support 23 welfare agencies under the Community Chest umbrella.
Leung was there to officiate at the start and did not take questions from the press.