Occupy Central

Mainland customs impounds Occupy Central voting booths and ballot boxes

Movement vows to go ahead with opening new polling stations; art students snub Carrie Lam

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 6:13pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 June, 2014, 5:42pm

Mainland customs officers have confiscated a shipment of materials intended for use in Occupy Central's unofficial referendum, disrupting the preparation of nine new polling stations.

The materials had been shipped from a mainland printing firm and were to be used to make ballot boxes and voting booths for nine extra stations - which the movement plans to open on Sunday, the last day of the poll, in a final push to encourage more people to vote.

Occupy said the stations would open, but the number of booths might be cut. Locations include Cheung Chau, Tin Shui Wai, Fanling, Yuen Long and the Chinese University, Sha Tin.

"The printer told us on Wednesday night that mainland customs had seized the [shipment]. We were so nervous, trying to figure out what to do to make sure we could still open the stations," Dr Chan Kin-man, co-organiser of the movement, said.

No logos were attached to the shipment, but the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme, commissioned to conduct the poll, was the addressee.

"I suspect our activities have been monitored by the authorities. They know which printer we approached," Chan said.

In total, 21 polling stations will open on Sunday. As of 11pm yesterday, 748,417 people had voted.

The referendum asks people to choose from three shortlisted electoral proposals - all of which call for the public to have the right to nominate chief executive candidates, an idea Beijing rejects.

In a call for more people to vote, Chan, his co-organisers and pan-democrats stood in silence in Central for an hour during lunchtime yesterday.

Support for Occupy Central was expressed at a graduation ceremony at the Academy for Performing Arts, when some graduates walked past Acting Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, officiating the event, without bowing. They also sang the movement's theme song, an adaptation of Do You Hear the People Sing? from Les Miserables, as Lam left the stage. Lam kept smiling throughout.

Meanwhile, organisers of the annual July 1 pro-democracy march had an application to widen their route rejected. The Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions agreed that three lanes of Hennessy Road would open to the marchers, instead of the six requested.

The Civil Human Rights Front expects 150,000 people to join the protest.