Occupy Central

Occupy Central critics point to policeman's 2011 death, warn against protest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 11:20am

About 100 people yesterday turned out at Central's Exchange Square to mourn a police officer who died after falling off the rain-soaked roof of a footbridge during a farmer's protest in the area two years ago.

But remembering officer Lau Chi-kin's sacrifice wasn't the only reason for the rally.

The demonstrators then marched to police headquarters in Wan Chai and the Legislative Council in Admiralty to convey their opposition to the Occupy Central movement.

They believe that if a protest by a farmer could lead to such chaos in 2011, then the universal suffrage rally planned for next summer, which organisers hope will attract thousands of people, could prove to be even more dangerous.

The participants were drawn to Exchange Square through a campaign organised by a pro-government group called Hong Kong Action, which has a similar ideology to the Voice of Loving Hong Kong. They observed a minute's silence and placed flowers in front of his picture.

Executive Councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who attended the event, praised Lau as a brave officer.

"It was rainy and windy when [the accident] happened two years ago, just like it is today," the former security chief said. "What he did was beyond the call of duty. His spirit to serve the public should be respected."

Lau died aged 49 on June 15, 2011, after falling from the roof of a covered walkway at Exchange Square as he tried to reach a chicken trader who had climbed onto an adjacent footbridge.

The trader's protest was the latest in his series of stunts seeking to draw attention to the loss of his business from curbs on the poultry trade following the 2008 bird flu outbreak.

Lau fell four metres and suffered serious head and chest injuries and died later at Queen Mary Hospital.

Retired officer Joe Sin Chat-ching, organiser of yesterday's events, said it was regrettable a brave officer had lost his life in the protest.

He warned what might happen if the Occupy Central movement went ahead.

"A protest by one person can paralyse traffic across all of Central … it can be horrible; so what will happen at a protest attended by thousands of people?" Sin said.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said earlier this month that there was "no possibility" the civil disobedience campaign could be lawful or peaceful.

Tony Wong, another organiser of yesterday's events, criticised the pan-democrats - who are helping to organise the disobedience campaign - for urging teenagers to break the law by taking part in the campaign.