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Friday, July 4, 2014, 08:51

Youth influenced by violent lawmakers: CE

By Kahon Chan in Hong Kong
Youth influenced by violent lawmakers: CE
Members of Silent Majority for Hong Kong hold anti-violence slogans during a ceremony to launch the Alliance for Peace and Democracy to counter the “Occupy Central” movement in Causeway Bay on Thursday. (Provided to China Daily)

Radical legislator Raymond Wong Yuk-man is facing possible common assault charges after he threw a glass in the legislative chamber that landed a few meters from Chief Executive (CE) Leung Chun-ying, who attributed recent street violence to legislators’ unruly behavior.

Leung was intercepted by scores of opposition legislators in the aisle as he entered the chamber on Thursday morning for the final Legislative Council (LegCo) question-and-answer session before summer recess. Chaos erupted and a glass shattered in the background as the CE tried to reach his place for the opening speech.

Slow-motion replays of TV footage revealed that the independent opposition radical, Raymond Wong Yuk-man, had grabbed the glass from a desk and thrown it during the uproar.

Holding up a shard of glass after order was restored, Leung appealed for public awareness of the rising violence in the LegCo building. He expressed concern that growing street-violence might be influenced by the radicals’ publicity stunts.

“From the first banana thrown a few years ago to this morning’s incident, there has been too much verbal and physical violence in this chamber,” said Leung. “We should ask ourselves: what kind of role the LegCo members have played for our young people?”

Young students dominated the overnight sit-in following the annual July 1 march on Tuesday. The government has listened to the marchers’ demands, Leung said. But he added that the overnight obstruction of major roads had been an unnecessary waste of police manpower.

Leung agreed that unaffordable housing and diminishing upward mobility might be contributing to frustration among young people. But legislators should always act as good role models, he added.

LegCo President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing confirmed at a press briefing that legislators only have legal immunity for remarks delivered at LegCo meetings.  The privilege of protection that they enjoy does not extend to behavior that breaches the law.

The CE’s office later filed a police report. The regional crime unit has been examining the case as a “common assault”.  Ronny Tong Ka-wah, barrister and Civic Party legislator, explained that an offender could be convicted even if no one had been hit.

As of Thursday evening, no arrests had been made for the glass throwing incident. Wong boasts he is a pioneer of the radical faction in LegCo.

The pro-establishment camp expressed disappointment at the walkout staged by mainstream opposition members. The opposition, nevertheless, condemned Wong’s glass throwing, stressing that the three radicals — including Wong — were acting independently.

Some of Wong’s other tactics were condemned by Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. Lam said it was absurd, for Wong to submit over 10,000 amendments for a simple funding request.

“He might think it has been an all-out war with the government, but it is essentially pitching themselves against the people,” said Lam. She again made a sincere appeal to lawmakers to clear the backlog of 76 funding requests in the two remaining meetings before mid July.

As more bills and proposals fell victim to the filibustering, Leung Chun-ying renewed his call for a review of the council’s procedural rules. He said the current rules had been abused by a minority in the LegCo to “hijack our social and economic development.”

Meanwhile, former radio host Robert Chow Yung has formed another anti-“Occupy Central” group with dozens of member associations. The Alliance for Peace and Democracy will run a petition with the target of attracting over 800,000 people who oppose the planned blockade in Central.
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