Leung Chun-ying

Leung Chun-ying mobbed by protesters at Lunar New Year fair

Chief executive and wife abandon Lunar New Year fair visit, after police fail to hold back angry protesters calling for his resignation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 7:34am

Leung Chun-ying had to cut short his first visit as chief executive to the Lunar New Year Fair in Victoria Park when he was mobbed by protesters demanding that he resign.

Leung and his wife Regina Tong Ching-yee were surrounded from the moment they stepped out of the car at the Causeway Bay venue until they got back in 15 minutes later.

In the chaos, Leung paid HK$100 for his only purchase, four bunches of lucky bamboo, which should have cost HK$140. His office said the balance was paid later.

"It was chaotic and some of our stocks were almost destroyed," said the florist who sold Leung the bamboo.

Leung spent a lot less than his predecessors Tung Chee-hwa and Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who paid out at least HK$500 on each visit in the past decade. Tsang spent HK$936 last year on flowers, dolls and sweets.

Though the couple were encircled by more than 20 police officers and security guards, Tong was almost hit by a cushion thrown by a protester at the flower stall.

"It is the first time the chief executive has not been able to walk around the fair, let alone buy anything," said Wyman Kong, who has had stalls at the fair for more than 10 years and owns another florist stand that Leung had been due to visit.

It is the first time the chief executive has not been able to walk around the fair, let alone buy anything

Protesters, including League of Social Democrats lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, sat on Causeway Road briefly to block the chief executive's car before police carried him back to the footpath.

In a statement last night, the Chief Executive condemned Long Hair Leung and other demonstrators for causing the chaos. He also deeply regretted the inconvenience created for stallholders and visitors.

After a year filled by scandals, politically satirical souvenirs starred at the fair when it opened yesterday.

For the first time. the Democratic Party is selling products designed by its own people, including T-shirts that read "CY Step Down" and "Turn Loss to Win" to tease Lau Kong-wah, the Beijing-friendly loser in the Legislative Council election in September who was appointed undersecretary for constitutional and mainland affairs.

"We want to change our conservative image in people's minds and to raise awareness of local political issues in a more innovative way," said Kelvin Lai King-wai, head of the party's creative media division.

Other pan-democratic parties, such as the league and the Civic Party, also offered politically satirical goods, such as a pair of flip flops exhorting the wearer to "step on CY" and a cushion with the words "You lie! Don't tell lies". The latter quote was uttered by Leung's chief executive rival, Henry Tang Ying-yen, during a televised debate when he questioned whether Leung had suggested the use of riot police and tear gas to handle street protesters in 2003.

The fair has more than 400 stands selling food and dry and wet goods. It will end in the early hours of Lunar New Year Day.