Pan-democrats' record-breaking hunger strike to go on till lawmakers return from Shanghai trip

One more pan-democrat gives up, but remaining trio vow to extend protest fast to 17 days

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 5:12am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 5:29pm

The three remaining pan-democrats on hunger strike vowed yesterday to continue their fast until Sunday, when lawmakers end their trip to Shanghai.

The pledge came after Lam Cho-ming, 36, of the Labour Party gave up, citing health problems after consuming only water and energy drinks for 264 hours. The fast, which is taking place outside the HSBC headquarters in Central, began on March 28 with 17 lawmakers and members of the pan-democratic camp.

Lam said it was "one of the toughest decisions in my life".

"I have been suffering from headaches and intermittent cramps … which forced me to quit," he said, adding that the fast had energised the city's democratic movement.

By 6pm yesterday, the hunger strike campaign had clocked 268 hours, entering its 12th day and breaking the 11-day Hong Kong record set in 1999 by activist priest Father Franco Mella, who was seeking the release of 29 mainland detainees.

Wu Chi-wai and Andrew Wan Siu-kin of the Democratic Party, together with the Labour Party's Alex Kwok Siu-kit vowed to extend their campaign to 17 days - until Sunday, when lawmakers end their Shanghai visit to discuss reform with Beijing officials.

"We will carry on the hunger strike until the end of the Shanghai trip to exert pressure on the central government and show our determination for genuine universal suffrage," Kwok said. "We hope Beijing will listen to the voice of Hongkongers."

The lawmakers are expected to have a half-day meeting to discuss political reform with the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Wang Guangya ; Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei ; and the central government liaison office director Zhang Xiaoming .

Wu, a lawmaker and district councillor, said he had lost at least 7kg over the last 12 days.

"I get exhausted easily and my body temperature drops," said Wu, who was wearing a quilted jacket in yesterday's humid 20 degrees Celsius. He was not chosen by his party to join the Shanghai trip.

"I do not expect [the hunger strike] to have a decisive effect on reform … but I want the government to know: we could go very far [for democracy] even by a peaceful and rational strategy."

The Labour Party's Lee Cheuk-yan, who helped co-ordinate the fast, has said a second one is planned for next month.