Hong Kong localism and independence

Localist throws hat into ring for Hong Kong by-election – but has press conference venue cancelled on him at last minute

Ventus Lau will contest legislative seat of New Territories East in March 11 by-election

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 December, 2017, 9:19pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 December, 2017, 11:07pm

A localist who planned to declare he was running in a Hong Kong by-election was abruptly banned from using a venue on a university campus on Saturday.

City University, the intended host for the event, said venue booking rules stated activities could not contain personal, commercial or political elements.

Ventus Lau Wing-hong, spokesman of Community Network Union – whose group was established after the Occupy movement in 2014 – had planned a press conference at the university to announce his intention to contest the legislative seat of New Territories East in the March 11 by-election.

The seat was vacated by Youngspiration’s Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang, who was disqualified by the High Court over improper oath-taking.

Lau said he hoped his participation in the by-election would shift public focus onto supporting jailed activists, such as Occupy poster boy Joshua Wong, and speaking out against the disqualification of lawmakers.

He added that he had been in contact with Leung from Youngspiration, who agreed with his political stance.

Lau said his group was informed by the university in Kowloon Tong that they could not use the venue five minutes before the scheduled time of noon on Saturday. A student body at the university had helped his group book the venue and a proof seen by the Post also showed the booking was confirmed.

“We were told by security staff that we were not approved to use the venue as it was political activity,” Lau said.

But he added he could not understand the decision as another pan-democrat group, Power for Democracy, held a forum on campus earlier in December.

“We made our booking through the proper channels,” Lau said. “Why aren’t we allowed to hold a press conference here?”

The university said they only discovered details of the activity on Saturday morning and the student union, which made the booking, was not the activity’s organiser.

Ex-lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai, the former head of Chinese University’s student union Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, and Labour Party underdog Steven Kwok Wing-kin all earlier announced plans to join the primary contest for the New Territories East seat.