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  • Oct 15, 2014
  • Updated: 8:08pm
Beijing White Paper 2014
NewsHong Kong

Solicitors vote to unseat Law Society president Ambrose Lam

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 11:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 August, 2014, 4:22am

The Law Society yesterday passed a historic vote of no confidence in its president for his remarks backing Beijing's recent white paper on Hong Kong.

A no-confidence motion in Ambrose Lam San-keung was passed by a wide margin, with 2,392 votes for and 1,478 against.

The rules of the Law Society do not state that a president must resign if a vote of no confidence is passed.

"Tonight there's no winner or loser for the Law Society," a stony-faced Lam said after the meeting, without indicating whether or not he would resign.

"All along I felt this was an internal matter for the Law Society and I have kept a low profile on this ... I hope we can stay united," he said as he got into his car surrounded by journalists.

He repeated the call for unity in a later statement.

The Law Society members who initiated yesterday's vote fought back tears as they announced their victory.

Kevin Yam Kin-fung, one of the three who tabled the motion of no confidence, said: "We have witnessed one of the most unexpected results in the history of Hong Kong professional bodies.

"But this is not a time for celebration. It is a time for relief, but also a time for sadness and vigilance. Sadness over the grotesque political interference by outside machinery throughout the process despite this being an internal matter."

He urged Lam to respect the result and step down.

It was the first time the 9,000-strong society had met to debate a motion of no confidence against a president.

Lam has been under fire since June when, speaking on behalf of the society, he expressed support for Beijing's controversial white paper, which is seen as a threat to Hong Kong's judicial independence.

The white paper referred to judges as "administrators" and said they had to be "patriotic".

Some 1,800 barristers and solicitors marched in protest against the document.

A second resolution called on the Law Society to issue a statement that the rule of law and judicial independence are Hong Kong's core values and should not be undermined by the white paper. The motion was passed by 2,747 votes in favour and 1,186 against.

A third one that asked Lam to withdraw his statements on the white paper was also passed, with 2,574 votes for and 1,367 against.

About 1,000 solicitors showed up at Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai, where the meeting was held. The remainder of the ballots were proxy votes.

Those who turned up included five past presidents of the society: Huen Wong, Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen, Roderick Woo Bun and Donald Yap. Ho and Lau said they would vote in favour of Lam.

More than 10 members from each camp spoke during the hour-long, closed-door meeting but Lam remained silent.

There had been complaints from solicitors that they received calls from clients with mainland links indicating a preference for Lam to prevail. Lawyers in some firms were asked to give the meeting's chairman proxy ballots to vote in favour of Lam.

The results showed that the majority of the proxy votes were against Lam.



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I received a call from a pro-China camp friend asking my solicitor friend (W) to vote for Lam. It turns out that W is not the kind of person who would toe the CCP line - in fact he strongly disapproves of the way outside interference has seeped into the legal profession. He was also acutely embarrassed that the president of his Law Society would sing the CCP praise in such a public and open manner, a blatant attempt at ar**-licking. No doubt if Lam won the no-confidence motion, he would see a substantial increase in his pro-China clients. Dare I say Lam appears to have sacrificed his own professional integrity in favour of the broader commercial interests. He has many pro-China supporters outside the Law Society but alas, solicitors in HK have better conscience.
It's a tough job to serve two masters.
Cheers for a courageous vote by the Law Society!
I’ve much respect for ALam
for his honest and truthful view on the CCP
and for dismissing the request to repeat himself in english
Result of the vote isn’t unexpected
given Hk’s weird legal environment
where law students learn outlandish laws
mechanical procedures and authoritarian interpretations
developed in milieu disconnected with realistic social background
in a foreign language from inferior teachers
who’re backroom mechanics with the pretention of development engineers
whose legal opinions have no standing in law courts and the academia
Compare the years of legal education in HK and elsewhere
it becomes clear that law in HK is a socially disconnected institution
that survives in brainwashed delusions
This is especially so for the young and inexperienced
who’re mostly self-righteous navel glazers
Well said, edexpete
“The waste business is extremely corrupt”
No government department will take any action
against urban recyclers who illegally use public areas
for waste processing and storage
Contractors that are paid hundreds of millions of dollar for street cleaning
are not doing more than 5% of their contract obligations
We tire of this
Please do not disparage Kevin Yam. He was probably under tremendous pressure from Beijing and their lackeys here. I would also like to know who voted against the motion of no confidence, at lease I will know which lawyers I will definitely not hire in the future to fight for my rights, not the rights of the communist party.
Marcus Tullius Cicero created the structure of law as we know it with Domitius Ulpianus, said lawyers (and judges who are also lawyers) are not to be trusted as the first principle of law is 'Quis Paget Entrat Justitii - Who pays has access to justice. The **** and Kwok corruption trial reflects this, with a plethora of highly paid barristers imported from the UK by the prosecution and the defence. Whatever the judgements, the expected outcomes will be at least 8 years of appeals on every little point of procedure and law. The recent confirmation by the Court of Final Appeal's dismissal of prosecution's leave to appeal against the High Court judgement that the Bribery Ordinance does not apply to bribes paid outside Hong Kong ! makes HK rule of law a laughing stock - This case involved the Directors of the now defunct joint venture Swire Sita Ltd. who paid bribes in Macau to get the Macau waste contract. The waste business is extremely corrupt - This raises questions on HK's failure to treat waste properly - Having a No Separation at Source - No Recycling Landfills Policy, Supplemented by a proposed Burn Everything Carbon to Air - It All Stinks. Lawyers in HK are driven by one thing $ - Pro Bono Publico - In the public good is almost non-existent . Equated to cases being paid by Legal Aid. The general state of lawlessness - The law being pervasively unenforced or enforced in an arbitrary, peremptory and capricious manner is self-evident in everything QNEF QED - All Stinks !
It's been great news for the people of Hong Kong that members of the Law Society, had defied expectations and voted in favour of the no-confidence motion on the incumbent president last night in its EGM. Though most people here are economic animals and generally not interested in politics, we see a lot of people from the older generation, in financial, industrial and business circle do not have the guts to stand up against what are obviously not in our interests by declaring political stands which are not their own. To remain neutral seems not an option in the present political climate!! I salute the people who managed to halt this trend of spinelessness among our elite class. They give us hope that this community has the moral capability to fight for what is right and not only the younger ones who have already shown us they reserve our respects in the fight for true democracy. We should all be encouraged that younger people are much more inclined to treasure democratic values, unlike the older folks who put money above everything in live.
Whether I like Mr. Lam's opinion or not, I believe he is entitled to his conscience and freedom of speech, which happens to be guaranteed by our Basic Law. If the no confidence motion was meant to be a tool to suppress his belief and opinion, then I think it is very wrong.
But then, the Law Society is really an elite and private club. Members can of course do what they like to their elected captain.
The members of the Law Society do not care about Mr. Lam's personal political views. The point is that the Law Society is to remain politically neutral. Mr. Lam should not be expressing his personal political views while stating that he is representing the Law Society.




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