My Take

Leave public out of Law Society’s internal fight

Some in the solicitors’ union are politically active and are picking a public fight against ‘enemies’ on the society’s ruling council

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 May, 2017, 1:28am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 May, 2017, 1:28am

If a guild for professional carpenters runs an election to select its own ruling members, it’s no one else’s business other than carpenters’. It’s the same with other professional bodies, including that for solicitors. Non-lawyers may take an interest in them, but they can’t vote or influence the outcome, and that’s the way it should be.

So, why would a solicitor named Kevin Yam Kin-fung write in the nihilistic Apple Daily to call on people not to support the re-election of solicitor and lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu to a four-year term on the council of the Law Society later this month?

Why not just send a massive email spam to all the solicitors in Hong Kong or personally appeal to them against Ho?

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Somehow Yam wants to get the public into the act, and make it a public fight against Ho. That’s what I call politicisation. And well, there is a simple reason for that. Yam was a big supporter of the Occupy movement and helped start a no-confidence vote that unseated a society president who was perceived to be too government-friendly. Clearly, he wanted to do the same to Ho.

A bit of a background: the Bar Association has been fiercely pan-democratic, while the Law Society has been more neutral and, at times, taken positions close to the local and central governments. Clearly, some politically active members such as Yam want to swing the society the other way. So, it’s not just Ho, the would-be council member he is after, but the legislator who is geographically elected but also a Beijing loyalist.

Still, you might expect a little more finesse in Yam’s accusations. Among these are: conflict of interest, prosecutorial interference, undermining “one country two systems”, and disregard for the rule of law and the judiciary. Oh, Ho is also accused of being a sexist and a homophobe. Now that’s overkill, which becomes a self-caricature.

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I have never met Ho and have no interest in defending him. I am just amused by the accusations because if they were true and Yam was being serious, Ho should be in jail, or at the very least, disqualified as a lawyer and legislator, and not just voted out of the council.

If Yam wants to engineer another palace coup within the society, it’s none of our business. But by making it our business, he is making himself look ridiculous.