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Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 08:54

Students storm HKU Council meeting

By Shadow Li

Tens of students stormed the meeting room of the Council of the University of Hong Kong — the university’s governing body — on Tuesday, preventing council members from leaving.

Students storm HKU Council meeting
A General View of University of Hong Kong.(Photo / GIS)

Political leaders condemned the students for interrupting the meeting, saying their behavior was unacceptable.

The council meeting, originally intending to discuss the decision earlier to delay the appointment of a pro-vice-chancellor, was brought to an abrupt end because of the students’ actions.

Before the meeting, the student union had threatened to lay siege to the council if its outcome did not meet their expectations.

Surrounded by students hurling abuse, HKU council member Wong Kai-man said the meeting had to be adjourned. They had been about to vote on whether to discuss the appointment of the pro-vice-chancellor. Wong said no decision on the appointment could be reached at Tuesday’s meeting.

At the end of June, the council voted 12-6 to delay appointment of the pro-vice-chancellor until after the university named a provost. The appointment of the provost was expected to be decided next month at the earliest.

At the center of the controversy is the university’s former law school dean, Johannes Chan Man-mun, who is tipped to be pro-vice-chancellor. It is reported that Chan’s appointment was delayed because of his controversial handling of donations relating to the illegal “Occupy Central” campaign.

After the meeting went on for four hours on Tuesday, the students — claiming to act on information that the council maintained its decision to delay the appointment — rushed into the meeting room after a student representative on the council opened the door.

The meeting subsequently stopped as several members were ambushed by students chanting slogans.

One of the council members, Lo Chung-mau, fell down on the floor during these clashes. The students refused to make way for Lo unless other members promised to stay in the room.

After half an hour of negotiations, Lo was allowed to leave for medical treatment while several other members, including Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, Council Chairman Edward Leong Che-hung and Vice-Chancellor Peter Mathieson, were not allowed to leave the room by the students.

Another council member, Ayesha Macpherson, was last seen leaving the parking lot around 10:45 pm in an ambulance, after allegedly being struck by students.

The student activists finally left the meeting room after mid-night.

Former secretary for commerce and economic development Frederick Ma Si-hang, a HKU alumnus, said he was very disappointed by the students’ violent behavior. Ma said such conduct was hooliganism.

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