Home > HK
Friday, October 17, 2014, 08:43

Victims prepare to sue occupiers for losses

By Luis Liu in Hong Kong

The city’s major anti-“Occupy Central” group set up a special contingent of lawyers on Thursday — offering free assistance to those affected so they can sue the occupiers and claim for their financial losses.

This decision was made after the group received 114 requests for help from affected individuals and small businesses over the past week, Robert Chow Yung, founder and spokesman for the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD), said at a press conference.

“Also some organizations, such as motor transport workers’ unions and associations representing the tourism industry, have filed requests with the APD which may involve tens of thousands of people,” Chow said.

“We trust in Hong Kong’s legal system, which has long been a core value in the city, and we believe all are equal before the law,” he said. “Those who oppose the law will surely be punished,” he confidently predicted.

The APD have prepared a template document of the letter of appeal. This will help victims sue the occupiers. The documents will be distributed around occupied areas and uploaded on its official website, according to Chow.

A woman, surnamed Lam, owner of a small guesthouse consisting of a dozen rooms on Nathan Road in Mong Kok, is among angry citizens who have contacted the alliance. During the occupation, many tourists have stopped booking her hotel and her daily losses amount to HK$10,000.

“I’m only running a small business. If the occupation continues, I may not be able to maintain it,” Lam said.

An 83-year-old woman, surnamed Wong, who receives regular treatment at Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai, now has to walk 50 minutes as the bus service she normally uses has been canceled due to the “Occupy” protests.

 “I even passed out on the road one time as I was walking to the hospital,” Wong said.

There were hardly any similar cases in the case libraries of common law system countries and territories, according to Lawrence Ma, a barrister-at-law in Hong Kong. “But the cause of action is eligible as long as solid evidence can be provided,” said Ma.

Under Hong Kong’s legal system, any claims for losses under HK$50,000 must be made at the Small Claims Tribunal. Claims between HK$50,000 and HK$1 million are lodged in the District Court. Cases involving claims exceeding HK$1 million are processed at the High Court, according to Ma.

Hong Kong has no class action system. The APD is encouraging more affected people “to stand out and sue the occupiers”, said Ma.

Ma also said an application for an injunction to the High Court is feasible to solve the problem if the occupation continues.

Other bodies have also received requests from those affected. The Asia Pacific Law Association, a Hong Kong-based organization whose membership extends to legal professionals in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao and the mainland, is also helping 14 associations in the transport industry to make claims due to damages caused by the “Occupy” campaign.


Latest News