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Occupy Central
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Law society condemns Occupy Central plan

Legal group's leader says he is angry about the disruption of social order and the rule of law by groups in city 'abusing the name of justice'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 4:24am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 October, 2013, 12:23pm

The city's largest lawyers' group yesterday joined the chorus condemning the Occupy Central civil disobedience plan, with its president saying the action was without legal grounds and the notion of "peaceful violence" was just "beautiful rhetoric".

And the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office warned against "a confluence" of the plan and Taiwanese independence, after a controversial meeting between a key Occupy Central organiser and a former leader of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party.

The movement plans to blockade the business district next summer if the government fails to come up with a satisfactory plan for full democracy in the 2017 chief executive election.

Law Society president Ambrose Lam San-keung yesterday said he did not support any civil disobedience action, and insisted the concept of civil disobedience "was not a legal principle".

In a rare gesture, he also said he was "angry" about recent attempts to challenge the social order, although he refused to say whether he was pointing the finger at the Occupy Central movement. He denied his comments were based on "orders from Beijing". "I am angry that many people are disrupting the social order and the rule of law by abusing the name of justice," Lam said. "There are ample channels for individuals to express their discontent against the system - either through the legislature or the courts to change the laws."

Lam also drew a comparison between the situation facing the Occupy Central movement and those of India's Mahatma Gandhi and America's Martin Luther King. He said Hong Kong's situation could not be compared to the conditions faced by the two civil disobedience advocates. "Our systems are running and working," said Lam. "Peaceful violence was just beautiful rhetoric. It is never a legal principle that can stand up in court."

Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an associate law professor at the University of Hong Kong who first put forward the plan, said when there was injustice in the law and the legal system, it was impossible to achieve justice under the existing system. He insisted the plan was peaceful and non-violent and any civil disobedience action would only happen after existing channels had been exhausted.

Criticism of Occupy Central has been mounting since a meeting between Shih Ming-teh, a former chairman of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, and three pan-democrats - including the plan's core organiser, Reverend Chu Yiu-ming - in Taipei on October 19. Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, convenor of the Alliance for True Democracy, and Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan were also present.

Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Fan Liqing , said Hongkongers would condemn the "confluence of the Occupy Central plan and Taiwanese independence". "Advocates of Taiwanese independence are conspiring to mess up Hong Kong. [But they] won't win public support and they won't succeed."

The overseas edition of Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily also suggested yesterday that the Occupy Central plan was "an attempt to coerce the central government", and the business district was being "threatened by extremists".

Core Occupy Central organiser Dr Chan Kin-man described the attacks as "mud-slinging".



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What a lot of nonsense! It was ok for the CCP to seize power through violent revolution, but it's not ok for the people of HK to make a point through civil disobedience? Get real!
"ample channels for individuals to express their discontent against the system - either through the legislature or the courts to change the laws". Lam is spouting obvious rubbish. The legislature cannot respond to the will of the people because it does not represent them and the courts are the province only of the ultra poor and the rich. It is these core flaws that demand resolute action and Occupy Central is wholly justified. Mr Lam must know this, so question: just how much of his firm Lam Lee & Lai's business relies on staying Beijing-friendly?
I suggest the SCMP improve it's reporting. Ambrose Lam's anger appears to be personal and political - he's another person who thinks he can speak out as a result of a small circle election of 20 people!
Occupy Central does no one any good. Why not go on a march in an orderly fashion as we have done before? Why promote breaching the law and invading other innocent people's rights as a means of achieving justice or any other political objectives? The whole concept sounds just like the idea of lynching someone and taking the law into their own hands because the people have no faith in the system. It should be more aptly called Lynching Central.
As a Hongkonger, I am also very angry with the occupy Central strategy as it will put Hong Kong close to the cliff to trigger something much bigger than what we can imagine. The issue in Hong Kong was/is/will not be just related to Hong Kong only. Hong Kong has the freedom of speech and the protection of common law, it has been the best place to arrange anything against China. The occupy Central event will create a concentration effort for all related parties to use this as a platform to create chaos. The sad thing is that I believe that Dr. Tai just does not know how stupid and naive he is to create a platform which potentially can damage so many parties. The future of Hong Kong will not be changed dramatically if we can either handpick or elect our CE or legistative council! This is just the fact we all need to admit. The Phillipines also has exact copy of US electoral system, does it guarantee a good government? No! Why? Good governance need consensus, co-operation, understanding and maturity rather than just screaming and shouting. In the 1-country 2-system in HK, the Mainland/HK relationship must be excellent before 1-country and 2-system will work. Good relationship does not mean kiss the ****; confrontation does not mean open-minded! We, Hongkongers, just need to be more mature and be real to the situation.
Why? Perhaps because, as anyone who knows anything about history will tell you, an orderly march never achieved anything. That's why!
Does this reflect most of the Law Society's members? What about the Hong Kong Bar Association?
Pathetic, defeatist, rubbish :(
The Occupy Central Movement is the only way we have any leverage in the process of moving towards a system where we can elect our leader. If you think China would just give that to you, wake up.
They have been on the right side of reason, logic and moral grounds. The fact that they have the attention of the Chinese government should tell you something.
Ambrose Lam does not represent the views of a lot of lawyers in Hong Kong. We respect and treasure the rule of law that has been the foundation of Hong Kong's success. Sounds like Mr. Lam is more than willing to sell out for a few cheap political brownie points. Shameless.


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