Cops add 20% to this year’s vigil turnout

Compared with the Israeli Defence Force’s robust action against civil disobedience, the Hong Kong Police are amateurs. First, our local boys in blue confiscate the Goddess of Democracy statue – the icon of the annual June 4 vigil – and arrest activists for not having something called an Entertainment Licence (which, to be fair, they could use). Then, with protesters threatening to lay siege to the police station concerned, they offer to give it back on condition that the activists comply with a Leisure and Cultural Services Department requirement that a structural engineer must certify that the object, being over a particular height, is safe.

This hitherto unheard-of regulation, after hibernating silently for years deep within the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, now suddenly awakens and leaps into action, either in a hopeless attempt to make the persecution of Tiananmen massacre protesters all the more terrifying, or in an equally clumsy attempt to save valiant law-enforcers’ face. (The height of a displayed object at which this law kicks in is 1.7 metres. In plain English, that’s 5 ft 7 ins. In other words, this is a legal loophole allowing the authorities to ban anything taller than Chief Executive Donald Tsang.)

Could this embarrassing little episode have been ordered by Security Secretary Ambrose Lee? Since he took ultimate control of the force – when he is not busy using publicly funded press releases to push the Bible – the Hong Kong Police have become noticeably more active in the suppression of unacceptable thoughts. The Operation Strike Hard-style crackdown on Goods of Desire T-shirts in 2007 comes to mind, as does the recent visit to Korkos Gallery on suspicion that someone might be violating the Willful Depiction of Unclad Women (Eradication) Ordinance.

Meanwhile, other senior government officials continue striving to convince us to call our directly elected, pro-democracy legislators and mercilessly nag them into voting in favour of the political non-reform bill next month.

Not content with pushing the package, Lee’s fellow fundamentalist Christian Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Stephen Lam is talking up the publicity campaign (which has indeed proved very popular among certain disaffected youth). Also-Evangelical Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung adds to my feeling that Beijing wants to backtrack after its earlier heavy-handed decision to punish mid-2000s Hong Kong by freezing political change.

“Voting for the 2012 proposals and seeking the ultimate goal of universal suffrage for 2017 and 2020,” he says, “are two separate matters.” This is a surprising statement, to say the least, after all these years of being told that this is all about step-by-step building blocks. This package is an irrelevant waste of time, he is admitting, let’s please just get it out of the way. It won’t, he adds, “prejudice the continual quest by some for abolition of the FC seats and clarification of the universal suffrage principles.” If they can bring themselves to be just slightly clearer for the benefit of the more obtuse opponents out there, they might actually get this package passed – especially if a last-minute mini-concession appears. Assuming Ambrose’s men don’t rappel into Victoria Park spraying everyone with their Uzis.

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18 Responses to Cops add 20% to this year’s vigil turnout

  1. FarcMaber says:

    Just getting in here early before MarcFaber leaves some inane comment about it all being a British Foreign Office conspiracy.

  2. MarcFaber says:

    Thank you for directing us to the Jerusalem Post for a really unbiased assessment of the Gaza Massacre Part 998. What a giveaway! I wonder what event outside Hong Kong would get you to write about something else. Otherwise, the minutiae of your analysis of trivial local events are as tedious as ever. Have a good day. But I guess you have other plans.

  3. FarcMaber says:

    I think that the “unbiased” assessment was the point. Doh! If you don’t like what you read here why don’t you go forth to some place more suitable for you where the points of view expressed are more illogical and confused. http://www.thestandard.com.hk/

  4. Maugrim says:

    NarcFable, I dips me lid, you’ve got Hemlock. Of course, why didn’t I see it before? A blog written in English, read mainly by English speaking people is perhaps the best, most insidious counter espionage I have ever seen. All of those FO resources, the whole team of stenographers and transmissions analysts that work on this project, their jobs gone. Your expose has left Hemlock as the ‘sound of one hand clapping’. How long before ChiCom operatives break down the door to his transmission room? Do you know what you’ve done man?

  5. Maugrim says:

    Back to the post itself, it’s funny how HK Governmental Officers can see but not see certain laws. For example, it’s ironic that the statue was confiscated in Times Square, a place that previously had been gazetted as being public space, yet had been sub-let by Times Square’s management to erect advertiisng displays. That rule or agreement being conveniently forgotten. Similarly the recent article in the SCMP about the requirement for some of HK’s most elite private clubs to open their facilities to school groups. Again, another rule conveniently left in the top drawer.

    In this sense, the eager officers ‘enforcing the law’ are creating more and more of an obvious farce, and in the process will kick an own goal. Who said HK was boring?

  6. Historian says:

    Tehre are all kinds of interesting laws lurking on the books waiting to be resurrected. The charge of ‘Furious Driving’ for example, which still pops up occasionally, was first created to deal with unruly rickshaw drivers in the 1880s.

  7. Critic says:

    Likewise the spurious drug charges laid against a restaurant owner on Lamma Island for “operating a divan” an old law used against opium dens in the 19th century.

  8. oddsox says:

    Interesting question of what is the position on govt officials pushing a particular religion. As an secularist and atheist I’m offended at tax payers money being spent on promotion of believers in anti-rationalist christian fairy tales, superstition and mythology. But, in a traditionally Chinese city, where most of the population would adhere to one of or a mix of animism, taoism, buddhism or other traditional Chinese religions/philosophies, isn’t a govt official on official time using his official title promoting christian babble a bit off?

  9. Bigot says:

    One need not look too far to find another exemplar of sbsurdity: aircraft noise pollution being controlled by the Civic Aviation Department.

  10. Maugrim says:

    oddsox, even I’m surprised with the fervency of locals who have ‘found Jesus’ so to speak. Don’t believe me, read job applications, many of which are less than subtle about their religious beliefs/afiliations.

  11. Praise the lord says:

    Isn’t the finding of Jesus mostly to do with getting kids into decent schools?

  12. Maugrim says:

    Praise the lord, in many cases yes, however, if you get a chance, have a look at job applications. I swear, they must think they are part of some Masonic code, with littered references to either God, Jesus, their religious affiliation, the church they attend and/or their church related weekend duties. I’m a Christian myself, though couldn’t care if they worshipped Baal so long as they did their work. I wonder if they think they can crack a job by mentioning ‘the key words’.

  13. Historian says:

    Another Taiping Rebellion on the horizon, perhaps?

  14. Xiao Yao says:

    Oddsox, it’s not a bit off. It’s waaaay off. Were these elected offices, I don’t think they’d get away with it.

  15. Nigel says:

    Do you English gentlemen sport beards and wear sandals ?

  16. Historian says:

    No. We wear beards and sport sandals. (Without socks, of course).

  17. kea says:

    I’ve met a few religious nutters, and the thing is that their religion takes over their entire identity. They also seem to have no concept of appropriate social boundaries for their proselytizing. It’s Jesus 24/7 with them. So I would not be surprised that their job applications are full of religious references.

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