Mystery surrounds Carrie Lam's call for 'urgent' meeting with police

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 4:13am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 9:05am

Hong Kong's frontline police and disciplined services unions have been invited to what has been described as an "urgent'' meeting with government No 2 Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor tomorrow.

The surprise call to the meeting at government headquarters - the time and agenda for which has not yet been disclosed to those asked to attend - comes just over a week after more than 100,000 took to the streets for the July 1 march, after which more than 500 people were arrested.

It also comes 24 hours before the Legislative Council's Finance Committee is due to address the issue of civil service pay amid growing fears over delayed decision-making due to filibusters by the pan-democratic camp.

The chief secretary's office last night declined to discuss Lam's diary, but several sources in the disciplined services have confirmed that a verbal invitation to tomorrow's meeting was received yesterday.

One source said such a meeting was rare - the last time it happened was in the aftermath of the protest-plagued visit of Premier Li Keqiang , then first vice-premier, in 2011.

"We were told nothing more than that it would be on Thursday at the government headquarters," a police source said.

Another source said: "They are telling us nothing ahead of the meeting. We have no idea why it has been called or what is on the agenda.''

The secrecy has led to speculation that the meeting would be about the police's handling of the July 2 Chater Road sit-in protest, which is considered a trial run for the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement.

The speculation is based on the meeting called in the wake of Li's 2011 visit, at which the government met disciplined services representatives to show its support after police were slammed for the way they handled those protests.

Representatives of civil servants outside the disciplined services have been invited to separate meetings with Lam tomorrow, but they also have not been told the time or agenda.

Li Kwai-yin, vice-president of the Hong Kong Chinese Civil Servants' Association, said that if she had to guess, the meeting may be about proposed pay rises for civil servants.

"The Legislative Council's Finance Committee is running out of time to pass the pay rise proposal. So maybe she [Lam] wants to tell us to be prepared mentally that it may not get passed [before the summer recess]," Li said yesterday.

She said Legco had previously always managed to pass the pay- rise proposal before the summer break.

Last month, the Chief Executive-in-Council decided on a rise of 4.7 per cent for public servants in the lower and middle salary bands. Those in the upper salary band were offered 5.96 per cent.