People Power radical arrested over Facebook post about 1967 riot leader's hearse

Police say 'pineapples' remark about 1967 riot leader's funeral incited violent acts by others

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 May, 2015, 8:21am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 May, 2015, 8:21am

A leading member of a radical political group was arrested yesterday for suggesting online that the hearse carrying the body of a ringleader of the deadly 1967 leftist riots would be welcomed by "home-made pineapples" - a code that referred to bombs during the turmoil.

The group says the arrest, on suspicion that Tam Tak-chi "accessed a computer with dishonest intent", was politically motivated as he meant no harm.

Tam, 43, a member of the executive committee of People Power, was picked up by police at a restaurant in Central in the afternoon, after he wrapped up a street campaign against the government's proposal for political reform.

Tam recently posted on his Facebook page about the upcoming funeral of Yeung Kwong, a Beijing loyalist and director of the Anti-British Struggle Committee, which was the key organiser of the 1967 riots.

According to People Power, Tam's Facebook post, which has since been deleted, read: "Boxes with words 'home-made pineapples, keep away, comrades' written on them, laid down on the road as the hearse goes. Will that be a good match? When opened, something explosive, confetti cannons for parties ..."

Police yesterday said Tam had made a remark on a social media platform that "incited others to commit illegal acts". The force's cybersecurity and technology crime bureau was investigating

People Power's treasurer Lau Gar-hung said Tam's post was never intended to incite people. "He talked of the confetti cannons you use at a party. Of course he was not talking about real bombs," said Lau. He added that the arrest was abusive and a suppression of free speech.

Yeung's death this month drew tributes from government officials, who praised him for his contribution to the labour movement. No mention was made of his role in the riots, which saw thousands injured and 51 killed - 15 of them by bombs.

The government's award of a Grand Bauhinia Medal to Yeung in 2001 sparked controversy.