Tung Tau officials admit organising protests

TWO Tung Tau Mutual Aid Committee (MAC) officials admitted last night they had organised the opposition to the proposed Down's syndrome day centre on the estate.

Mr Wong Wing-ki and Mr Wong Kwok-keung confirmed they were responsible for most of the banners and slogans around the centre, which carried offensive messages against Down's syndrome sufferers and politicians.

One slogan issued a death threat to the head of the day centre, while another warned that if anybody tampered or tried to remove the banners, they would have to ''deal with the chopper''.

As the war of words over the day centre heated up, Mr Wong Wing-ki, chairman of the Kwai Tung House MAC, said although he helped organise the campaign he had nothing to do with the vandalism which accompanied the demonstration.

MAC vice-chairman Mr Wong Kwok-keung admitted the banners and the bills that appeared around the centre were organised by both the men.

He said: ''We just want to vent our anger through the slogans. We have many residents working together. They will take our place if we are not there.'' Mr Wong Kwok-keung also denied involvement in the vandalism, in which windows of the day care centre were smashed.

''If we really want to destroy something, we would not break windows. We could have destroyed the whole centre.

''We are very active with action against the plan. But we will not do anything to break the law.

''We did not oppose the establishment of the Down's syndrome centre at the beginning. But Mr Tse [the Hong Kong Down's Syndrome Association chairman] should not have acted on our behalf by saying all residents agreed to the setting up of the centre.'' Mr Wong Wing-ki said a statement by Down's syndrome association founder member Jonathan Chamberlain that Wong and his vice-chairman were behind the demonstrations were ''irresponsible comments''.

The MAC chairman said: ''Even if he had any suspicions, he does not have the right to point them out without any evidence.'' He admitted the banners and bills on the estate were part of their campaign. ''They were only to reflect our views. I stress we are not against the facilities for the mentally handicapped. We are just opposing the Government for not consulting with us and respecting our views. We are fighting for that.'' Meanwhile, the Down's syndrome association is planning a gala day outside the day centre on October 1 - a move which could provoke more protests.

Mr Chamberlain, a parent of a handicapped child, said the association would not ''cower and hide'' from the protesters.

''The event may or may not attract more trouble, but we have an agenda and that agenda is to integrate into the community,'' he said.

''If we hide or cower they have won. If you have a neighbour who is threatening you, you try and go about your life. I think they are bullies, and the worst thing we could do is hide.

''It may lead to a stand off, I don't know. We don't mind if people don't like us as long as they don't attack us.

''We are going to put pressure on them.'' Sources told the Sunday Morning Post that if the protesters caused any violence at the October 1 event, association members would take legal action.

''We will make sure that if there is any violence we will sue the hell out of them,'' said the source.

''If the police don't protect us we'll take legal action.'' The opposition to the Down's syndrome day centre is part of a long-running opposition to proposed facilities for the mentally handicapped by a section of the community in Tung Tau.

Earlier this year protesters clashed with police over proposals for another hostel for the mentally handicapped.