Hong Kong activists try to catch Xi Jinping’s eye with ‘Wolf Leung’ banner
Message displayed on building next to Beijing’s liaison office refers to outgoing chief executive’s HK$50 million UGL scandal
A group of activists has sent outgoing Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying a parting gift in the form of a protest banner prominently displayed on his final day as chief executive.
In a move timed to coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to the city, members of the Civil Human Rights Front unfurled a black banner – about six metres long – from the 13th floor of Kwan Yick Building in Sai Ying Pun that read: “Investigate the UGL” and “Send ‘Wolf Leung’ on a journey”.
The words refer to an ongoing controversy stemming from the top official’s failure to declare a large payment received from Australian engineering firm UGL. Leung received part of the HK$50 million sum after he became chief executive.
The building is next to the headquarters of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong.
The banner was sent up by the Front – which organises the annual July 1 protest – at 1.03pm on Friday. A policewoman appeared on the scene just 12 minutes later, and the banner was promptly rolled up moments after that.
The group had initially hoped to display the banner when Xi’s motorcade passed by on its way from the People’s Liberation Army garrison at Shek Kong Barracks to Wan Chai.
“The security is just too strict. We spent all morning trying to find a suitable place to hang the banner, including the Rumsey Street car park in Central where Xi’s car would pass by. But when we got there, we found that a police officer was stationed on each floor,” Civil Human Rights Front convener Au Nok-hin told the Post.
“In the end, we decided to pick Kwan Yick Building, which is just next to the liaison office.”
After the incident, a small scuffle broke out between the activists and a landlord who noticed Au and his group unfolding the banner for the media to photograph.
Au said they had obtained permission to enter the building but had to pack up the banner when police officers were sent to investigate.
“We hoped to send Xi a direct message ... to ask [the central government] to release [ailing Nobel laureate] Liu Xiaobo and investigate the UGL incident,” Au said.
When asked by journalists if they had plans to hang any more banners during the president’s stay, Au said: “We will grasp every opportunity to.”