Leung Chun-ying

Bizarre rush to secure a spot at Leung Chun-ying's third community meeting

Mainly elderly cardholders had to camp out overnight to secure their spot for today

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 September, 2013, 2:50am

All 300 places at the chief executive's third meet-the-public session today were snapped up in a surreal exercise outside a community centre yesterday.

The lucky winners of cards were forced to spend last night camped outside Leighton Hill Community Hall in Causeway Bay or lose them if they left the site for more than 30 minutes.

They can exchange the cards for tickets to Leung Chun-ying's "town hall' meeting this afternoon at the Tang Shiu Kin Victoria Government Secondary School in Wan Chai.

Asked why the mainly elderly card-holders had to camp out overnight or miss out on today's meeting, a government worker said it was "government policy".

Lui Yuk-lin, of the League of Social Democrats, arrived at the hall at 9.20pm on Friday and was the first one to line up for a card.

She said when officials announced at 7.45am that they would start distributing tickets, about six coaches pulled up nearby. People poured off the buses and grabbed the tickets.

"I never knew the mobilisation power of the pro-establishment camp was that mighty," Lui said.

But some of those who endured the ordeal to secure a spot did not seem to know what concerns they would raise with Leung, or even if they would actually attend the meeting.

Many were chatting in Putonghua or Hokkien dialect.

Whenever the Sunday Morning Post tried to approach them, marshals blocked access and took pictures of the reporter.

The Post was able to talk briefly to two women chatting in Putonghua, who switched to Cantonese to say that they were Hongkongers. They said they had a card but would not say if they would listen to Leung.

The chief executive will be accompanied today by housing secretary Anthony Cheung Bing-leung and labour chief Matthew Cheung Kin-chung.

His previous community meetings have been marred by clashes.

The first one in Tin Shui Wai ended up in scuffles. A police source said triad members were called in to support pro-government activists. Four suspected triad members were arrested.

Pan-democrats are planning another so-called Standing Man protest today, in which they will wear white and stand silently outside Leung's meeting. The protest follows the lead of an anti-government protest in Istanbul three months ago.