LCQ11: Measures against "Occupy Central"

     Following is a question by the Hon Ng Leung-sing and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, in the Legislative Council today (November 20):


     Last month, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported that human rights activists from around the world attended this year's conference of the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) held in Norway last month.  The topics discussed at the meeting included the Occupy Central movement which occurred in Hong Kong, and that plans for the occupation of roads (the occupation) were hatched by initiators of the movement and human rights activists from around the world as far back as January 2013, with more than 1 000 Hong Kong people having received specific training, including how to speak to the Police and how to manage their action, etc., prior to the initiation of the occupation.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has grasped the planning of the occupation; if it has not, of the reasons for that; if it has, whether it has taken targeted measures to prevent the occurrence of the occupation; and

(2) whether it has assessed if OFF's conduct of activities related to Hong Kong has constituted a threat to the security of Hong Kong; if it has assessed, of the outcome; if it has not assessed, the reasons for that?



     The Administration's reply to the Hon Ng Leung-sing's question is as follows:

(1) In January 2013, a scholar advocated non-violent civil disobedience in a newspaper article as a means to fight for implementation of genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong, by rallying up to 10 000 protesters to unlawfully occupy the major trunk roads in Central for a long span of time (hereinafter, the "Occupy Central"), with the aim of paralysing Hong Kong's political and economic hub, whereby forcing the Central Government to accede to their demand.  In the following one year and more, the initiators of "Occupy Central" and a number of organisations kept on propagating the concept of "Occupy Central" through various channels. While keeping a close watch on the situation, the Police had conducted risk assessments and formulated plans in a timely manner, and had also set out corresponding deployment and contingency measures.  The Administration could not disclose specific particulars of Police's assessments, plans and deployment as they are matters of operational details.

     The SAR Government, in the past one year and more, has put in place a number of measures against the "Occupy Central" on the community front.  For instance, the Administration had, on different occasions, called on persons who intend to organise public order events to notify the Police and provide details in accordance with the Public Order Ordinance.  When expressing their aspirations, participants of meetings or processions were also advised to abide by the laws of Hong Kong and respect other's right so that the events could proceed in a peaceful and orderly manner without compromising the Police's efforts to maintain law and order. The SAR Government had repeatedly spelt out the potential negative impact of "Occupy Central" on various sectors of the community in different ways and through different channels.  Given that such an event might jeopardise public safety and public order, members of the public, in contemplating participation in such an event, were also reminded to take heed of its legality, the possible out-of-control situation, personal safety, legal liabilities and so on.  At the briefings organised by the banking, hotel and retail sectors, the Police were invited to expound the potential negative impact of "Occupy Central" on such sectors while advising them to make contingency plans.

(2) According to media reports, participants of an overseas forum had had discussions on the planning and operation management of "Occupy Central". The Administration noted that, since the beginning of "Occupy Central", different analyses have been made and views expressed by Hong Kong and overseas communities, politicians and media on whether external forces have been involved in or have influenced "Occupy Central" directly or indirectly.  The issue has aroused concerns locally and overseas. The Chief Executive pointed out that the involvement of external forces in "Occupy Central" was not a mere speculation. Hong Kong, as part of China and a highly open city, has been operating within a rather complicated international environment and exposed to the influence of external forces. However, the issue involves national and local security as well as a lot of other complicated and sensitive information. In dealing with matters of this kind, the Administration considers it inappropriate for the SAR Government, as for any other governments, to conduct an open discussion.

     As far as "Occupy Central" is concerned, the SAR Government will restore social order in accordance with the law as soon as possible.  Stressing that "Occupy Central" is an unlawful assembly, the Government will deal with this illegal activity, including its organisation and planning, in a serious manner.   Hong Kong is a city of rule of law.  The law enforcement agencies will deal with this illegal activity in accordance with the law.

Ends/Thursday, November 20, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:12