Financial and professional companies plan to sue the organisers of Occupy Central for any loss or damage they suffer from the movement's planned blockade of the business district, the chief executive said yesterday.
Reiterating his stance that the movement is unlawful, Leung Chun-ying also said it would be "impossible" for police to issue a letter of no objection - a prerequisite for any big public protest - to the organisers.
"The financial services, business and professional companies would be subjected to the most severe economic loss if Central is paralysed," Leung said. "I understand that [some companies] in Central are planning civil litigation to call a halt to the movement if it happens."
The chief executive was speaking at his regular question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council about the movement's plan to blockade Central with 10,000 people if its demands for full democracy are not met.
Leung also said the movement would not push the central government to accede to its political reform plan. The session was abandoned after radical lawmakers threw objects at Leung.
Watch: Legislator throws bun at CY Leung after his warning against Occupy Central
Key Occupy organiser the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming said the group had no plans to apply for a police letter, as it was a civil disobedience movement. He said Leung should not be too worried about their movement if he was confident that the government's reform plan was compatible with international standards.
Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit said Leung's ruling-out of the letter was "utterly premature" as there was still uncertainty about when and where the demonstration would take place. "It cannot possibly be a serious statement by the chief executive," he said.
Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told a delegation of the Hong Kong CPPCC (Provincial) Members Association that the movement would seriously challenge the rule of law.
A source with knowledge of business affairs confirmed that big firms were exploring possible legal action. "They plan to move their offices out of Central if the business district becomes inaccessible and want to sue the movement for the additional costs," the source said.
University of Hong Kong legal scholar Eric Cheung Tat-ming said it was premature to plan lawsuits when Occupy Central's plans were still unclear.
Additional reporting Kwong Man-ki