Occupy Central

CY Leung repeats claim of ‘external forces’ influencing Occupy - but provides no evidence

Chief executive says he can prove foreign sway in democracy movement, but gives no evidence

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 January, 2015, 11:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 January, 2015, 9:08am

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying claimed yesterday there was significant information indicating that foreign powers were behind the organisation of the Occupy Central movement, but he did not provide substantial evidence to support the claim.

At the height of the pro-democracy protests in November, Leung said he had proof foreign forces had long been meddling in the city's politics and he would substantiate his claims with evidence at an appropriate time.

"The interference of external forces into Hong Kong's politics - including a large-scale and illegal public movement such as Occupy Central - should have drawn [more] attention in the society," Leung said ahead of the Executive Council meeting yesterday.

"In the past few months, large amounts of materials have been revealed … and those people concerned did not deny the validity of such documents."

Leung did not specify what those materials were, but he was apparently referring to the leaked emails that showed Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting, a legal scholar at the University of Hong Kong, had forwarded HK$1.45 million in donations from at least one anonymous donor to his employer over several months last year to cover some of the expenses incurred by the Occupy movement.

In an event on Monday that was open only to two pro-government newspapers - Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Pao - Leung reportedly said the leaked emails showed "the trace of external forces" in the Occupy movement.

Those "external forces" included foreign governments, their subsidiary organisations or foreign-based non-governmental organisations, Leung said.

In that meeting, Leung also reportedly pointed out that the donations to Tai last year were made via cashier's cheques issued by an HSBC branch in Kwun Tong - the same bank branch from which Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying allegedly made donations to pan-democrats over the past few years.

But Leung has so far failed to explain how the donations were actually related to the foreign interference. A spokesman for Leung's office said no further information would be provided.

"Leung's allegations were completely groundless. Maybe it is part of his game plan to canvass public support for the political reform," Tai said. He reiterated yesterday the donations were from a local donor, but declined to reveal the donor's identity.

An internal HKU document last month showed the university's management was satisfied that Tai's donations complied with the institution's rules.

But a source close to the government said that as Benny Tai had denied receiving financial support from external sources, he should reveal the identity of the real donors.