Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that two recent public forums held by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had split the community.
Lam was referring two recent two town hall meetings in Tin Shui Wai and Kwun Tong at which scuffles had broken out between pro- and anti-Leung supporters.
Lam, who is acting chief executive while Leung is on leave until August 29, came to the chief executive’s defence when asked if the two forums had caused further division in the community.
“There is no question of division or polarisation. Hong Kong has freedom of speech. It is normal for us to have divergent views,” she said, speaking at an Executive Council meeting.
Tensions were particularly high at the first forum in Tin Shui Wai at which pro-democracy groups alleged that some of their protestors were attacked by pro-Leung activists wearing surgical masks, some of whom were suspected of being triad members, and that police officers at the scene ignored the attacks.
So far, 12 people have been arrested by the police for their parts in the clashes during the two forums.
Lam said the public meetings were designed by Leung and his government to gather residents’ views on important issues.
“[Leung] hopes that we as principal officials can go to the districts and listen to residents’ views and take their questions,” she said.