Society chief refuses to back down

Ambrose Lam issues open letter to solicitors ahead of no-confidence vote

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 4:25am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 August, 2014, 4:25am

The Law Society's embattled president has appealed for support ahead of a vote on a motion of no confidence a week today - but stood by the comments that attracted the ire of many fellow solicitors.

Ambrose Lam San-keung said he would not retract his praise for the State Council's contentious white paper on Hong Kong in June as he hit back at critics and insisted the majority of members of the society's governing council agreed with the views he had expressed. "I am not naïve … I said what I meant and I meant what I said," he wrote in an open letter dated Tuesday.

More than 240 solicitors backed the motion of no-confidence after Lam hailed the white paper - which categorised judges as administrators with a "political requirement" to love the country - as a "positive document".

He attracted further criticism when he described the Communist Party as "great" in a radio interview a day later.

Lam insisted there had been no need to wait for the council to come up with an official stance before reacting to the white paper.

"Even though the council had not formally met, as the leader and chair of the council I knew how the majority viewed the paper," he said. "I stood firm against the scaremongers within our community, who said that the white paper changed or attempted to change the Basic Law. I refused to be a sheep."

He said he had pinpointed the importance of judicial independence in a press conference on the white paper.

But solicitor Kevin Yam, who initiated the petition against Lam, said the legal sector's criticism of the white paper was not a "fuss over nothing" and said it was inappropriate of Lam to mock opponents of the white paper as "sheep".

"I am sure the members will have their own judgment," he said. All members will be able to vote at next week's extraordinary general meeting.

Some 1,800 lawyers joined a street protest against the white paper in June, claiming that judicial independence in the city was at stake.