Leung Chun-ying

Heavy police presence dampens tempers at second CE forum

Heavy presence keeps the pro- and anti-Leung sides apart, but six people were still arrested

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 August, 2013, 11:20am

Despite the arrest of six protesters, the chief executive's town hall meeting in Kwun Tong yesterday drew milder rallies outside the venue compared to those at a similar event a week ago.

The most eye-catching protest outside Kwun Tong Kung Lok Government School yesterday was one attended by about 200 democracy advocates who wore white and stood silently, resembling the "Standing Man" anti-government campaign on the streets of the Turkish city Istanbul two months ago.

Police, who maintained a heavy presence at the event, were able to separate the 1,100 people for and against Leung Chun-ying thanks largely to the slope on nearby Hong Ning Road and its junction with Kung Lok Road.

Pro-Leung supporters, numbering about 50, had their voices drowned out by hundreds of rivals. Officers formed a human chain to separate the two sides as they shouted at each other.

Minor scuffles occurred between opposing groups, though on a smaller scale to those seen in violent confrontations outside Leung's meet-the-public session in Tin Shui Wai a week ago. As of yesterday, police had made eight arrests in relation to those attacks. Those arrested yesterday were held on suspicion of assault, common assault, indecent assault and disorder in a public place, police said.

A supporter of radical pro- democracy group Civic Passion said he was hit on the head by two people.

"I was chanting 'down with the communists' into the microphone [when] somebody came up and hit my head," the person, surnamed Wong, said.

Another woman wept as she told the South China Morning Post she was hit with a placard by an anti-Falun Gong protester.

Billy Chiu Hin-chung, who was arrested several weeks ago for "attempting to grab a police gun" during a protest supporting primary teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze - an incident later clarified by police as "a misunderstanding" - was again arrested yesterday when he tried to break away from the cordoned protest area.

A Leung supporter also accused an opponent of assaulting him. Patrick Ko Tat-bun, convenor of radical pro-Beijing group Voice of Loving Hong Kong, said someone blew loudly through a vuvuzela horn near his ear and struck his chest.

Asked about the lack of pro-government groups attending the event, Ko said a dozen people from his group had gathered outside the venue and he was optimistic that "the majority of people who remain silent in Kwun Tong are all supporting CY".