Carrie Lam shrugs off shouts and ‘petrol bomb’ threat at Legco suffrage meeting

Despite being told to ‘go to hell’ by radical lawmaker and despite opposition from pan-democrats, chief secretary confident in bridging divide over electoral reform consultation

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 December, 2013, 3:55pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 December, 2013, 2:28pm

Petrol bombs will be thrown next time instead of eggs by those opposing the government's "fake consultation" on electoral reform, a radical pan-democrat lawmaker said yesterday.

Wong Yuk-man's threat at a Legislative Council panel meeting follows an incident on Saturday in which Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah was hit by an egg hurled by a protester.

Wong's words immediately drew fire from Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who said the government would "take further action" if officials found their safety under threat.

Despite the two-hour special meeting of Legco's constitutional affairs panel being punctuated by fiery exchanges, Lam said she remained confident officials would be able to bridge the divide between the administration and pan-democrats.

At yesterday's panel, Wong accused the government of beginning the political reform consultation with presumptions.

He shouted at Lam, Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, and constitutional affairs chief Raymond Tam Chi-yuen: "You only act as political tools of the Communist Party. The three of you should go to hell!"

Wong said revolution was the only way out of the current situation for Hong Kong.

"[Next time], it's not about throwing eggs any more, but petrol bombs. [Carrie] Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, please don't think it's funny," he said.

Questions arose as to whether Wong's words constituted a crime. A law lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, Eric Cheung Tat-ming, said it was unlikely it could be proven Wong had any intention of making good on his threat - a critical factor in judging whether a person's spoken words constitute criminal intimidation.

The Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance protects lawmakers in the chamber from any civil or criminal proceedings that could arise from their words.

"Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, chairman of the League of Social Democrats, vowed the party would target the chief executive in the future. "Throwing eggs does not constitute violence. It is a norm in international politics against unjust regimes."

Leung said that the two League members linked to the attack on Tsang, Derek Chan Tak-cheung and Iverson Tsang Chun-ying, would report to police on January 14 and "are prepared to be charged".

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said a peaceful and accommodating process of consultation was needed. "Violence does not help," he said.