Beijing White Paper 2014

Law Society elects Stephen Hung as president as Ambrose Lam resigns

Ambrose Lam confirms he will step down after vote of no confidence

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 August, 2014, 11:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 8:22am

A criminal lawyer more vocal about trade than politics has replaced the embattled Ambrose Lam San-keung as president of the Law Society.

The council of the society yesterday elected Stephen Hung Wan-shun, who has served as vice-president, to the top post shortly after Lam tendered his resignation.

Lam confirmed before the meeting that he would step down after a vote of no confidence in him passed by a wide margin at an extraordinary general meeting last Thursday. "This may be the last time I see you as president of the Law Society," he said to the media. "In order to maintain the solidarity of the Law Society, I will tender my resignation to the council with immediate effect."

To address criticism of his refusal to repeat answers in English at a May press conference, Lam delivered his speech in English after first speaking in Chinese.

Lam drew criticism in June for describing Beijing's white paper on Hong Kong as a "positive" document. The document categorised judges as "administrators" and said they had a "political requirement" to love the country. Some 1,800 lawyers took to the streets in protest.

Hung declined to speak to the media after the meeting. He shunned reporters who waited to ask him questions and left through the fire stairway.

Hung, a partner of Pang, Wan and Choi Solicitors, is a member of a Law Reform Commission subcommittee on offences relating to child abuse in the home. He has criticised the city's money laundering law, saying it makes it difficult to defend suspects, and has advocated raising fees for private criminal lawyers who act for the government.

In a statement, the council reiterated that the Law Society was "apolitical" and it would continue to focus on defending the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.

These values should not be undermined by the white paper, it said, addressing resolutions passed at the EGM. It requested Lam to withdraw his statements on the white paper.

Kevin Yam Kin-fung, the lawyer who initiated the vote against Lam, said Lam had done the "honourable thing" and he trusted that Hung would defend core values.