Pro-Beijing figures seek to match the influence of Article 45 Concern Group A new lawyers' group comprising pro-Beijing figures is to be set up this month to voice opinions on issues such as constitutional reform. Its establishment, which has yet to be formally announced, is regarded as a move to counter the growing influence of the Article 45 Concern Group, which is enjoying increasing public support. Members of the concern group led the fight against the national security bill last year and are high-profile advocates of universal suffrage for election of the chief executive in 2007 and the legislature in 2008. Solicitor Kennedy Wong Ying-ho yesterday said the new group would be formed in the second half of the month. He will be one of its founding members. Mr Wong, a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said members of the legal sector always had diverse views on legal issues. 'The issues that we face nowadays are always legally related, especially in the field of constitutional law, such as the proposed national unification law and last year's Article 23 legislation,' he said, referring to the security bill. He said many lawyers wanted to express their views, but there was no arena for them to do so because the Bar Association and the Law Society were statutory bodies that focused on self-regulating the profession. 'Through pulling barristers, solicitors and academics together, it is hoped that it can provide more flexibility for them to freely express their opinions,' he said. Fellow group member and former Law Society president Simon Ip Shing-hing said he believed the group's establishment could enhance rational debate on different issues facing Hong Kong. As there would be different opinions being floated, the public could analyse and compare them, he said. But Mr Ip stopped short of relating the group's formation to the Article 45 Concern Group. The new group would pull together people who cherished common ideals and held identical views, he said, and it was not meant to counter any other organisation. He said that the group planned to organise forums and publish articles. Other members of the group will include Martin Liao Cheung-kong, a barrister and younger brother of executive councillor Andrew Liao Cheung-sing, solicitor Anthony Chow Wing-kin and Daniel Fung Wah-kin. Mr Chow and Mr Fung are local delegates to the CPPCC. Independent lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee of the Article 45 Concern Group said it was good to have lawyers willing to express their views on current issues.