Time flew by, says radical lawmaker 'Long Hair' Leung on his release from jail

Time flew by for jailed lawmaker. He lost his locks but gained time to read, write … and plot his next move

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 4:12am

Having had his signature locks shorn by jailers for the fifth time, radical lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung is reflecting on what he will do while he waits for them to grow back.

"It might take three years to have the hair back to its original length … but I am almost 60 years old already, what else couldn't I give up?" he said, following his release from the Lai Chi Kok detention centre on Saturday.

First on his action list is a push for five directly elected lawmakers to resign and thereby force by-elections and a "de facto referendum" on democracy. Despite a lukewarm response from allies, he says it is the best way to build the pro-democracy movement's momentum after Occupy Central's unofficial referendum drew almost 800,000 votes.

Leung said he had reservations about the decision by students to occupy Chater Road after the July 1 march as a rehearsal for the main Occupy Central demonstration, but would still back them.

Watch: "Long Hair": Legco is an arena — you are there to kill the bull

"Civil disobedience should not only rely on impulsive indignation … if a second thought was given, how many of these participants [of the sit-in] would still show up again next time?" he asked.

Leung also spoke of his frustration at being locked up during the annual pro-democracy march and his worries about the safety of protesters in the Chater Road sit-in. "It was the first time I had spent July 1 in jail," he said. "It was a very complicated feeling. I wanted to know the latest situation via radio, but I also didn't want to as I could do nothing to help."

Leung was jailed for four weeks for criminal damage and disorderly behaviour that took place during a public forum at the Science Museum, Tsim Sha Tsui, on September 1, 2011. The forum was held to discuss plans to scrap Legislative Council by-elections.

But apart from his frustration at missing the July 1 march, he said it hadn't been too tough to get through his days behind bars.

"At the very beginning, all I could do was to read a newspaper - which I do not really like - from back to front to kill time."

Later he was able to read his own books including biographies of Leon Trotsky and Nelson Mandela, as well as poetry by Wang Jingwei, a Kuomintang politician who served as the head of a puppet state after the Japanese invasion of the country in 1937.

He also wrote to newspapers - when he could get hold of some stamps. "The cell was extremely hot and it was hard to concentrate … but I was actually so very busy that I did not even have enough time to do everything," he grinned.

"It's a very long fight for democracy … without guts you can do nothing."